Bluefields Beach stillThursday, June 17, 2021
BY KIMBERLY PEDDIE
BLUEFIELDS, Westmoreland - Those who fish and swim at the popular Bluefields Beach are questioning why it remains padlocked despite a recent Government order for the country's beaches and rivers to be reopened.
“There needs to be something done about [the failure to reopen Bluefields Beach],” argued fisherman Davian Plummer who lives in nearby Auldayr district.
The beach, he said, is a major attraction for locals who journey from as far as St Thomas to the hot spot.
He had heard nothing, he said, to explain why it remains closed.
The Government recently gave the green light for public beaches and rivers to reopen, effective June 3, for swimming, bathing, and exercising purposes from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Saturday and from 6:00 am to 1:00 pm on Sundays.
No beach parties or group games are permitted as some measures remain in place to keep the novel coronavirus pandemic in check.
Michelle Tracey, acting director for corporate relations and marketing at the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) which operates the beach explained, however, that the Bluefields Beach Park has had its own hurdles to overcome.
After being given the green light to reopen in July 2020 following adjustments to the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA), she said, they were soon shut down.
“The beach park was ordered closed by the ministry of local government following breaches identified during the emancipation and independence holidays in July and August 2020,” she said, adding that the public had been advised of the closure.
Those issues have since been resolved, and the plan, she said, is to safely open and welcome patrons in July.
But, first, some work has to be done on the venue.
Staff members have now been called back to work and repairs have begun on the beach park, she added, to ensure that it is ready next month.
Among those eagerly awaiting the reopening is Nicardo Bennett who vends on the beach.
“Bwoy, mi feel bad yuh nuh, because more time nutten nah gwaan, and you know most times on a Sunday mi deh pan the beach,” shared a sulky Bennett. “Right now it come een like… a waste a time.”
Arriana Myrie, a frequent beachgoer, is longing to end her one-year COVID-imposed break from the beach as soon as it reopens.
Others are not as patient.
Earlier this week, one resident of Auldayr district, told the Jamaica Observer West she would be getting a dip the next day because, as far as she knows, the beach is open for business.
The chain-link gates are padlocked.
The UDC's Tracey said that they are aware that some people are still entering the beach via other means, but they are asking patrons to only use the official entrance which, for now, is closed.
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