Winnifred Beach located in the community of Fairy Hill close to Port Antonio in Jamaica and is one of the island\'s last remaining true public beaches. Jamaicans and visitors to the island have enjoyed the white sands, pristine waters and laid back atmosphere for many years. Beach vendors have been earning their living on the beach with items ranging from trinkets to some good and hearty Jamaican cuisine. Nothing is more wonderful than to experience Jamaicans and foreign tourists enjoying this beach together and seeing true community tourism at work. All this is to change if the Urban Development Corporation, an agency of the Government of Jamaica, is to have its way. Their proposal envisions beach cottages as well as luxury villas which will have several negative impacts on the area. To start with there will be environmental degradation which will lead to habitat loss for many species of birds as well as for the endangered Hawksbill Turtle, which nests in the area. There will also be more strain on marine life and the coral reef which is already suffering from the impact of housing developments in the area. In addition to the negative environmental impact there will be severe negative social impacts as the citizens of Jamaica loose yet another of their beaches to unsustainable development. We believe that preserving Winnifred Beach as a public beach is important in the fight for Jamaicans to retain their beaches all over the island and as such can set a precedent. We call for the Urban Development Corporation proposal for Fairy Hill and Winnifred Beach to be withdrawn in its entirety, for the status of Winnifred Beach to be firmly declared as a public beach with no possibility of privatisation in the future, for the area to be declared a conservation zone and for the Jamaican government tourism product development agency to assist the Fairy Hill Community with the sustainable management of the beach with a view to the preservation of the beach for the people of Jamaica and visitors to this island forever.
Winnifred Beach Committee
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