Jamaica Gleaner / THE EDITOR, Sir:
In the past week or so, I have noted demolition and clean-up activity taking place at Walter Fletcher Beach, formerly known as Aqua Sol. Upon inquiry, I was informed that said activity was being done by the owners of the property, the Urban Development Corporation (UDC).
The action by the UDC must be commended, as since they re-entered the property in November 2017, it was closed to the public and its appearance, along one of Montego Bay’s main thoroughfare, was an eyesore.
The closure of the property also locked down one of the few remaining public beaches with functioning amenities to locals and foreigners. The timing was reprehensible, as it was done just before the Christmas and New Year holidays, when many locals and visitors to Montego Bay, from beyond the parish and national borders, would flock to the city.
We are now in Easter holidays and, up to the time of writing, the beach is still closed. The people were deprived of a social amenity and the economy of Montego Bay also suffered. Where do the people play?
The activities by the UDC have also caused tongues to start wagging, the main question being, what is the intention of the UDC with its expansive waterfront properties and particularly the area from Dump Up Beach to the Old Hospital Park?
Anecdotal stories have been making the rounds, and gaining traction that the Walter Fletcher Beach is to be placed in the hands of a business tycoon for development that will cause locals and visitors to be locked out of that area.
OPEN AND ACCOUNTABLE
A public entity that holds properties in trust or in the interest of the citizens of Jamaica must operate and deal with said properties in an open and transparent manner and be accountable.
In short simple language, I am calling on the general manager of the UDC to immediately or in the very short term, and before they advance too far down the wicket, to convene a town hall meeting in Montego Bay and give a full and thorough overview of its intentions.
During the PNP administration of 2012-16, the Cornwall Beach property was divested to a non-national group, thereby depriving locals use of Montego Bay’s best public beach. At that time, I opposed it not only because of the manner in which it was done, but also on the basis that little by little, locals were being deprived of one their best natural resources, the reasonable use of its beaches.
Senator and Councillor
JAMAICA: Letter of the Day | UDC must account for MoBay beach future
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