Ziggy and Cedella Marley have joined the fight with the Jamaica Beach Birthright Environmental Movement to keep Bob Marley beach - named after their late, great father - open to the public. The eight times Grammy-award winner shared a poster for the petition on social media which calls for the protection of unconditional access to Jamaica's beaches.
Ziggy, the eldest son of the music legend, cited that it should be a constitutional right as a pillar of the country's ecological heritage. His sister, Cedella, also echoed similar sentiments, posting on her Instagram page: ‘Jamaican people should be able to freely enjoy Jamaican waters like many of us did before.’
The siblings joined JABEM (Jamaica Beach Birthright Environmental Movement) in their bid to get the country’s government to make unconditional access to, and use of all Jamaica’s beaches, including the Bob Marley Beach in St Andrew, a Constitutional Right.
On his Instagram, Ziggy shared a poster for a petition titled ‘Protect Beach Access for all Jamaicans & keep Bob Marley Beach Public’, and said: ‘When I was younger, we freely had access to most of our local off the beaten path beaches and rivers including Bull Bay and Cane River. Now, there is a pressure campaign to privatize more local beaches and rivers and deprive Jamaicans and in particular Jamaicans who cannot afford to pay for a day of well needed stress relief and rejuvenation of these natural resources.’
Very moved, he went on: ‘Jamaica is one of the only islands in the Caribbean that does not guarantee its people GENERAL rights of access to its beaches. There is no GENERAL RIGHT to bathe, fish, or walk along the beach. We always enjoy and encourage visitors to our Island and ask them to join us in making sure that Jamaican people today can freely enjoy Jamaican waters like many of us did before.’
The petition, which is listed on change.org, notes the threat of beach access loss remains at a high level, and is systemic across the island including areas such as Bluefields and Little Bay in Westmoreland; Cousins Cove in Hanover; Cornwall beach St. James, Alligator Pond in St Elizabeth and Mammee Bay, Peach Beach and Little Dunn’s River beaches in St. Ann.
Reggae Beach and Lagoon at Goldeneye in St. Mary and San San and Dragon Bay in Portland are also affected beaches, with the petition adding: ‘It is at a crisis level, and if not addressed soon, Jamaica’s beaches will eventually be fenced off from its citizens.’
JABEM is said to be alarmed by events at the Bob Marley Beach – amongst the other effected holiday hot-spots - as the Jamaican public is under imminent threat of losing access to yet another community beach, along with the destruction of the fishing industry there, their livelihoods and the cultural implications of those who live and work there.