Carib - Court Battle Over Bob Marley Beach Access Begins

A court hearing is set to get underway today in relation to the Jamaica Beach Birthright Environmental Movement’s effort to ensure the public has long term access to the Bob Marley beach in St. Thomas.

The Movement in a statement today noted that its group, the community at Bob Marley Beach and the Jamaica Surfing Association are joint plaintiffs in the matter.

The defendants are Woof Group Limited and the Commissioner of Lands.

The Woof Group is the property owner for part of the land which adjoins the Caribbean sea, and encompasses the only track/roadway to access Bob Marley Beach.

In addition, part of the track/roadway traverses property owned by the government and administered through the Commissioner of Lands.

The plaintiffs have argued that there’s an imminent threat of land dispossession and displacement from the beach.

The Movement believes the development of a luxury hotel on the adjoining property to Bob Marley beach could threaten public access.


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According to the plaintiffs, the threat will remain high until access to and use of the beach is legally protected with a conservation easement written on the land titles recognizing the public’s rights.

The suit brought by the groups seeks to protect their rights to use the track/roadway over the land for beach access and to also preserve their fishing rights under the Prescription Act.

Under the Prescription Act, when any beach has been used by the public for fishing, bathing or recreation, and any road, track or pathway passing over any land adjoining or adjacent to such beach has been used by the public as a means of access to such beach, without interruption for the full period of 20 years, the public shall, subject to the provisos hereinafter contained, have the absolute and indefeasible right to use such beach, land, road, track or pathway.

The law says this shall be the case unless it appears that the same was enjoyed by some consent or agreement expressly made or given for that purpose by deed or writing.

This statue of the law recognizes the acquisition of a right through long use or enjoyment.

The community has been using that beach for more than 20 years without interruption or permission.

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