Beach Apartheid In Jamaica A Polarising Force

Letter of the Day published in The Daily Gleaner, Friday December 4
I just returned from Grenada, where I spent a wonderful week.
As I sat on their premier beach, Grande Anse, I couldn’t help but compare and contrast Grenada’s approach to beach management and what I see happening here in Jamaica.
Grande Anse Beach, Grenada
The best beaches in Jamaica are open to all – but at a price.
Doctor’s Cave, Frenchman’s Cove, and Bamboo Beach Club are some of our most beautiful beaches that allow you entry once you pay anywhere between J$600 and J$800 per person. Work that out for a family of four.
Having paid that, you are not allowed to carry your own beach chair or picnic.
On beautiful Grand Anse, you pay no admission fee. You can carry your chair. Or you can rent from people who have chairs for rent. Some carry their chair, but the chair-rental man still makes a living from those who opt not to carry their own chair.
You can carry your picnic, or you can buy food from vendors outside the beach or from the one restaurant actually located on the beach.
There is free Wi-Fi along the length of the beach.
Garbage bins were strategically placed and managed, and all locals and tourists used them. The beach was clean. Tourists and locals freely intermingled, giving visitors the authentic Grenadian experience. Note, too, that there are hotels located along the stretch of beach called Grande Anse and the visitors use the same beach that non-visitors use.
Beach police patrol the stretch. There is very little hawking of wares on the beach. There is no loud, intrusive music.
If you need to use a restroom, there are facilities run by the State that you can use once you pay a small fee to the attendant on duty.
Here in Jamaica, it feels as if we deliberately set out to create a polarised society and a context where select people get to enrich themselves at the expense of others. We can all coexist. Look at Grande Anse!