For Immediate Release October 12, 2022
St Ann, Jamaica
Contact: Dr Marcus Goffe
Bob Marley Beach, favorite of the Reggae Icon, under imminent threat of Public Access loss including the removal of longstanding Rastafari families in Bull Bay, St. Thomas, Jamaica.
The Jamaica Beach Birthright Environmental Movement (JaBBEM) is deeply concerned regarding the imminent threat of the public losing access to yet another community beach, destruction of fisherfolk's livelihood and land dispossession of prominent Rastafari family members at Bob Marley Beach in Bull Bay, St. Thomas.
The world renowned Bob Marley Beach is under imminent and clear threat of public beach access loss and land displacement of Rastafari families living on the adjoining property for more than 50 years.
JaBBEM understands that this act of beach access loss and land dispossession is to facilitate the construction of an exclusive hotel by The Woof Group Limited (WGL).
The WGL has indicated its intent to demolish existing structures on the beach and adjoining ands to aid in the eviction of the Rastafari families of the deceased Rastafarian elder Gladstone “Bongo Gabby” Stephenson, as early as Friday, October 14th, 2022 (preparatory works has began) .
The importance of access to beaches and rivers which constitute part of the Jamaican ecological heritage cannot be understated, given the accelerated threat from the massive expansion of hotel construction.
Jamaican citizens are often excluded from using most “hotel” beaches unless they can afford the required hotel stay, which far too many cannot. This is unlike several other regional governments who also depend on Tourism yet allow full and unfettered access to beaches and rivers. The government of Jamaica has too often failed to preserve access to these public resources. Instead, it has chosen to consistently issue beach licenses and construction permits to hoteliers, who go on to do as they please and destroy the beach ecosystems respectively.
Bob Marley would surely be hurt and insulted were he alive to witness such an act take place at his favorite beach. This is no way to honor his legacy, it will put Jamaica in a bad light on the world stage, and we encourage both the Government and People of Jamaica to halt this action.
JaBBEM is particularly concerned by the failure of governments over several decades to enact legislation that guarantees the unfettered rights of the Jamaican people and friends of Jamaica to access the beach and use the sea through the repeal and replacement of the Beach Control Act of 1956 with a post colonial progressive and just law.
(President of JaBBEM, JaBBEM.org)