The law which regulates Jamaicans access to all beaches stems from the colonial era and is racist, according to a local activist group, Jamaica Beach Birthright Environmental Movement (JBBEM).
Campaigners, joined by Ziggy and Cedella Marley, have called for Jamaica’s beaches to be made accessible to local people, following months of reports that locals were being denied access to some beaches on the island.
The issue isn’t new in Jamaica, where beaches tend to be held by developers and resorts catering to its tourism industry, reported Reuters in 2017. Public beaches are not all operational and many charge visitors fees.
But the current campaign was spurred last year by reported plans to build a hotel on lands in St Thomas which JBEEM claims will result in the loss of access to the Bob Marley Beach in Bull Bay.
The advocacy group is charging that the government has too often failed to preserve access to these public resources. (Jamaica Gleaner)
Legislation around the Caribbean varies, but the question of who can access beaches has become increasingly common in the region. “The feeling is that despite regulations, access to beaches in nations from Jamaica to St Lucia has diminished over the years, and that the more recent acceptance of ever larger resort developments is resulting in traditional rights being further eroded,” according to the Caribbean Council.
A Puerto Rican protest last year against “the construction of a private pool on a public beach where endangered reptiles nest had, by the end of summer, evolved into a symbolic battle over the future of this island’s treasured waterfronts,” reports the Huffington Post.
Racial Justice and Reparations
- Britain’s King Charles signalled support for research into the monarchy’s historical links with transatlantic slavery, after the Guardian published a 1689 document showing King William III’s stake in a slave-trading company. Buckingham Palace did not comment on the document but said it supported a research project, co-sponsored by Historic Royal Palaces, into the monarchy’s involvement in the slave trade. (See last week’s Just Caribbean Updates.)
- The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States objected “to the imposition of direct colonial rule over the people of the British Virgin Islands” in a statement support from the BVI’s ongoing implementation of reforms.
Climate Justice and Energy
- Transitioning Puerto Rico’s electric grid to renewable energy is a life or death matter given the country’s vulnerability to extreme weather events. (Reuters)
- Mangrove reforestation is key to Puerto Rico’s storm defense — Climate Tracker
- A sandbar off the coast of Barbuda, which for decades has restrained ocean currents and protected the Codrington Lagoon from the open sea, has been compromised by breaches that threaten the well-being of the lagoon’s ecosystems, as well as the livelihoods of Barbudans, reports Cari-Bois. (Via Global Voices)
- Coastal erosion is redrawing St. Vincent’s north-east coast — Cari-Bois
- Jamaican youth protested last month’s International Seabed Authority Council meeting in Kingston. The main topic of the 12 days of discussions was the draft regulations governing the exploitation of minerals in the deep-sea bed, reports Emma Lewis in Global Voices.
- An ongoing audit of US$1.6B in expenses incurred in Guyana between 1999 and 2017 by an ExxonMobil subsidiary found that partners racked up US$31.4M in certain expenses which they claim Guyana must pay — Kaieteur News
- In 2021, Guyana reportedly gave oil and gas companies US$397 million in tax breaks on profit oil, which is about US$191 million more than the country received in that same year from personal income taxes paid by Guyanese workers, according to Kaieteur News.
- Research in Dominica shows that trees in hurricane-prone areas have the ability to survive even after severe damage — Clemson Caribbean Initiative
- A high-level business engagement workshop to share information about the EU’s Carbon Adjustment Mechanism — The Caribbean Export
- Cassava, also known as yuca, is enjoying a renaissance in Haiti, where the traditional staple was long considered food of last resort. (Miami Herald)
- Petchary’s Blog analyzes a program that empowers farmers with tools and expertise to become more climate resilient, carried out by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, Mexico and Jamaica.
- Curaçao’s Minister of Justice has presented data dispelling the myth that irregular Venezuelan migrants commit crimes at a large or disproportionate scale in the country. (Crónicas del Caribe via Americas Migration Brief)
- Antigua and Barbuda deployed a contingent of eight troops to aid in the Regional Security System’s (RSS) operations in Saint Lucia. (Loop News, see March 15’s JCU)
- Almost half of Haiti’s children are facing acute hunger with violence, climate stresses and soaring inflation all contributing to the situation worsening since the Caribbean island nation was struck by a devastating earthquake 18 months ago, according to Save the Children. (Relief Web)
- Though the Rastafari feature frequently in media and culture, they have most often been misrepresented, their political and religious significance minimized. Charles Price’s Rastafari: The Evolution of a People and Their Identity reclaims the rich history of this relatively new world religion. (New Books Network)
- Ireland, slavery and the Caribbean draws together a diverse group of contributors to explore the many and varied ways in which Ireland and the Caribbean share an interlocking Atlantic history. (Repeating Islands)
- “When a group understands what it means to be excluded, stereotyped and even demonised, as Caribbean women have been for centuries since colonisation, there’s greater responsibility to compassionately ensure that others live without such harm,” argues a Gabrielle Hosein in a Global Voices column rejecting exclusion of transwomen.
- Catch a Fire, the album regarded as responsible for catapulting Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer to global stardom, has clawed its way back onto Billboard’s Reggae Albums chart 50 years after its release. — Dancehall Mag
- Apply — Consultancy — Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’s Environment Team
- 19-22 April — Caribbean Women for Climate Justice Conference — The Climate Conscious Podcast & The Breadfruit Collective with the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute & The Open Society Foundations — Register
- 24-27 April — Climate Shorts: Spotlighting local climate action in the Caribbean — Caribbean Natural Resource Institute (CANARI) — Register
- April 26-28 — 15th Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF 2023) — New Energy — More info
- 3 May — Putting the Glasgow Climate Pact into action: accounting for vulnerability — ODI’s Resilient and Sustainable Initiative (RESI) — Register
Just Caribbean Updates