‘Keep Bob Marley Beach authentic’ - Pleas for popular spot to remain sacred amid development talk

January 05, 2023
Bob Marley Beach
Bob Marley Beach
Nickay Swaby
Nickay Swaby
Patrons enjoying a day at Bob Marley Beach.
Patrons enjoying a day at Bob Marley Beach.

After working tirelessly at various US hospitals for the past 18 months, Jamaica-born registered nurse Nickay Swaby, 28, said that the only remedy for her exhaustion was to book a trip to her homeland where she could enjoy its warmth and scenery.

She did just that and, on Wednesday, found herself at the Bob Marley Beach, in Bull Bay, St Thomas. She said the sound of the waves brought a "soothing feeling", which in turn was complemented by the warm sun.

"I mean, it is not a private beach but my first experience was a very fulfilling one for me. And the fact that it is named after Bob Marley, the reggae icon, and it is close by to where I stay in Kingston, the water is pretty nice and [so is] the hospitality. Everything put together gives me a satisfying feeling," said Swaby, who works three, 12-hour shifts weekly.

Swaby, who hails from Duhaney Park, St Andrew, currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She migrated from Jamaica a decade before she became a full-time nurse in 2017. It was her second time visiting the beach, to which she has since become sentimentally attached.

"This right here, the cool breeze, the solitude, the nice water, is heaven. It is funny how people always take the simpler things in life for granted," the former Immaculate High School graduate reasoned. The smiling caregiver said she hopes that the beach can keep its sacred status amid report of plans to construct an exclusive hotel on the world renowned recreational site. Among her concerns are the economical future of the local fisherfolk and other occupants, whom she said have made the experience worthwhile.

"When I heard about it (pending developments) I felt bad because I don't really want this to happen. Here is a sacred spot for me and I am sure for many others as well. But, hopefully, they don't mess up the beach. I mean, I am all for development and such. But, sure, if they can do all of that and maintain this vibe, I am game," she said.

Adding that; "Keep the authenticity. The men that have their boats here and go fishing in the evening should still have access to the beach to be able to do that."

Swaby, who arrived on the island on January 1 for a two-week stay, said that going to the beach was always her favourite past-time growing up in Kingston.

"Since I left Jamaica, I've been back at least once a year and I try as much to visit the beach because I don't ever go to the beach in the States. I choose not to because the quality of the beaches there doesn't compare to here," she said.

The residents of the Bob Marley Beach property and some fisherfolk who are facing displacement said that they haven't received an update in relation to the development since they were informed last October.

They have since rejected the notice claiming legitimate usage of the land. Within the Jamaican law is the Prescription Act which states that if a person is using a space for more than 20 years, then they have a right to continue to use the space in perpetuity.

THE STAR detected no sign of development in the space on Wednesday. President of the Jamaica Beach Birthright Environmental Movement, Devon Taylor, has said he was concerned about the situation and has since acquired the services of attorney Marcus Goffe for legal guidance.

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