INTERVIEWS 

JAMAICA
English:

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Coast 2 Coast interviewed locals living along the coast of Jamaica on their personal experiences with ocean conservation in their respective countries and cultures.

 

We asked people three questions:

 

PAST: Do you have a favorite childhood memory of the beach? 

 

PRESENT: What is your relationship like now with the ocean?

What is your country's relationship like now with the ocean?

 

FUTURE: What would you like to see for the future of the coast in your country?

 
INTERVIEWS:

"Tourists and locals alike enjoy our ocean."

Bob Marley Beach, Jamaica

What is your name?

 

Charles

 

Do you have a favorite childhood memory from the ocean?

 

I have a very interesting experience from Bob Marley Beach there… yes man… I ran down the waters one day as a very young boy. I jumped into the water and started to drift outwards. Now at this time I had never been able to swim before… but when I started to drift and I started to sink, you know, I was like… I’ve heard of too many people drowning… and you know, I was not going to be one of them… and then and there, I learned to swim. I’ve been swimming ever since.  

Wow!

 

Yes man… I learned what others call it… the dog paddle. 

 

So after that you’ve always enjoyed the beach?

 

Yes man… after that it has always been a wonderful experience. Always exciting and calming.

 

What’s Jamaica’s relationship with the ocean?

 

Well… locals and tourists go. The beach culture and the ocean culture is very big in Jamaica. But on a global level, not just Jamaica, we are calling to respect this natural reservoir. 

 

Do you think tourism is sustainable in Jamaica? 

 

Well, I think there is a tourist side that pollute the beach but I think mostly tourism is helpful with keeping the beach clean. Tourists and locals alike enjoy our ocean.

 

What do you think people can do to protect the ocean?

 

We need more education for young people… so show them at dumping one bottle into the gully can then end up in the sea that people love so much. You understand me? How that can make  contribution to the destruction of coral reefs and the other precious commodities we have in the ocean… you understand me? Show the young people how pollution on land can effect the ocean Jamaicans and tourists love so much. In addition, we should develop an even greater sense of pride as Jamaicans for our environment and a sense of respect. 

 

Jamaica is amazing.

 

Yeah man… it’s wonderful, it’s beautiful! Yes man. Jamaica is a beautiful place. 

"This is your place, your beach, so don’t litter, you understand?"

Kingston, Jamaica

What is your name?

 

Johnathan

 

Do have a favorite childhood memory of the ocean?

 

When I was growing up as a child I grew up in the country… you would call it a rural town. There was a river in the back of my house. And then there came this one time this organization came with a bus and we all went to the beach. There was this race and as the time the prize to win was 500 Jamaican dollars… and I won as a little child. Because I was in the river so much all the people were asking how can this boy swim so far… and I did because I loved the water. 

 

What is Jamaican society's relationship like with the ocean?

 

Well, Jamaicans are close to the ocean. In Kingston, the one of the main beaches is Sugarman Beach… you can relax, have a good time, you can get fish and festival, and just have a good time, you know? Any day of the week, you go and there are people. You go on Sunday, you can’t park! you understand? 

 

Are the beaches clean?

 

You have people that clean up the beaches. Sometimes I leave people who go and clean and then I come back in the evening and there are people who sweep and make sure that things don’t go into the water. 

 

What can Jamaicans do to keep the beach clean? 

 

Well, I just think everyone must know that don’t throw your garbage on the beach. Don’t throw your plastic. If you are drinking soda, put the can in a bin. Natural things like a leaf, you leave that on the beach. But sometimes people think, this isn’t my place… but it is your place. This is your place, your beach, so don’t litter, you understand? Don’t throw your plastic. You know that I mean? 

 

 

"There is so much Crime and Poverty... but Tourists don't visit that Jamaica."

Green Field, Mandeville, Jamaica

What is your name?

 

Nikroy

 

Do you have a favorite childhood memory from the ocean?

 

Yes man… actually I was living in a tourist area about two years ago in Ocho Rios, St. Anne. I use to come out and look out at the ocean… kinda like a meditation. I would look out and develop ideas. I lived near the sea… I loved to just sit and watch. 

 

Do you think of tourism in Jamaica? 

 

Well it is amazing because Jamaica has so much crime and poverty… that’s my Jamaica but I am amazed that we have some many tourists. This island attracts so many tourists… I think it is pretty great. And I think tourists like it here... even though there is so much crime and poverty... but tourists don't visit that Jamaica.

 

What do you think people can do to promote social good in Jamaica? 

 

I think initiatives like Coast 2 Coast and mediation workshops… get more youth involved in your organization would be a good step in doing that. 

"They poisoned an entire river to kill one fish."

Mandeville, Jamaica

What is your name?

 

Bridget

 

Do you have a favorite childhood memory from the ocean?

 

Yes… I do… this is Alligator Pond in Manchester where I used to visit with my father. He used to sell fish so we would visit the fishing beach and the fishermen so he could ride around on his bike and sell fish to people.

 

Where there a lot of fish at this time?

 

Yes. Lots and lots. A wide variety, very huge at the time. We used to have huge fish. 

 

Do you think the amount of fish has gone down?

 

Significantly in terms of the yield, the sizes, and the variety. It is due to the fishing practices we have adopted over time. Really how we preserve the ocean… which really hasn’t been that good. Just a few years ago, they poisoned a river because it was a quicker way to kill the fish but people were getting sick… I think they are still using these practices. 

 

What do you think people can do to promote social good in Jamaica? 

 

I think, one, as a people we need to understand that these are our resources and we need to take better care of the ocean… so in terms of our fishing practices and waste disposable, these are important things as a people that we need to improve on and we have a treasured resource that many people travel here to experience… so we need to protect this as our own. We are an island so we need to think about the ocean. 

 

"Hot sand taught me to walk…"

Bob Marley Beach, Kingston, Jamaica

What is your name?

 

Wally

 

Do you have a favorite childhood memory from the ocean?

 

Well this beach is the beach where I learned to walk.  Hot sand on this beach taught me how to walk. Just the heat of the sand… yeah… of course… that’s my favorite memory! 

 

What’s your relationship like now with the ocean?

 

Well I have to be in the ocean… I have to visit the ocean because I have to fish and so forth… Of course…  

 

You’re also a surfer, right? 

 

Of course… I have to ride waves… I have people coming and seeing me ride waves and I think I am passing it on… of course. 

 

What’s Jamaica’s relationship now with the ocean?

 

People love the beach… the tourism is here… people love the beach. The attraction is here. Jamaica protection the ocean because it means the tourism is also protected. From what I hear… oceans need protecting… especially the coral… wildlife needs to be conserved in the ocean. 

 

Do you think tourism is sustainable in Jamaica? 

 

Well it is only like the big companies who are making the money off of the tourists… the all inclusive resorts. 

 

What do you think people can do to protect the ocean?

 

Stop dumping in the ocean… stop the pollution… small steps you know… that’s where steps begin… on the ground with the local people like us… of course.

"Fish are very sensitive creatures."

Treasure Beach, Jamaica

What is your name?

 

Presley

 

What are the current problems that you are experiencing as a fishermen here in Jamaica?

 

The problem that we have on the coastline right now is the diving. The compression diving. The fish are not able to survive because of the compressor… the scuba diving has less of an affect. The coastline is hurt by the hurricanes and you find that the breeding ground of the fish is covered by sand moved by these storms. So it might take a couple years for it to come back to normal. 

 

For now… the fish is really bad. As you can see… the fishing is down right now. Times are troubling. I need to go 80 miles south to find something. It is like you spend more than what you earn. 

 

Is this because of the compression diving? 

 

Yes the diving has a 90% affect to it. Our government a couple of years made us change the mesh that we use to a more corse mesh. I am one who then must use this… so I save the younger fish and let them grow bigger. But the man with the compressor comes in and kills all the fish at once… even the younger fish. He takes anything he wants… from the half-pound to the one pound… it puts him at an advantage. I save it and then someone takes it. If we don’t come together and find some agreement then… I don’t know what is going to happen. 

 

The fish are not use to so much harassment by humans. They are sensitive creatures. Sensitive things. Those that live there and those that live there don’t mix. Some want to beat the others up. So fish are migrating so not to mix. They go deeper… deeper out. We are struggling… struggling to survive. 

 

And before the compression diving, it was easy to fish? 

 

Oh man… fish was booming. Fish was so much. Everyone was making a good profit. But since of late now, even a man who tries very hard, he can’t get anything. 

 

And what about the future? 

 

We need people who can help us speak about these issues… I can’t get to the authorities. No one listens. I am speaking to you as a fishermen… I’ve been fishing for 32 years. I want to speak to the person in charge. We want fish to have a safe place to grow so they feel safe and we can all have fish. Right now there is a culture problem in Jamaica… everyone is fighting. If the fishermen want our voices to be heard, we all need to come together. You must understand the root of the problems.  

"Tourism is one-sided here in Jamaica."

Mandeville, Jamaica

Do you have a favorite childhood memory from the ocean?

 

I remember the first time and I went to the beach… It was in Montego Bay. I remember I was so excited about collecting the shells and back then there were so many shells. Right? And back then there were so many shells and you could get the big onces and bringn them back home and listen to the ocean and it was phenomenal. I remember that as a child… I used to love that. 

 

Are there less shells now? 

 

Yes… my shell-picking days are over. 

 

Why is that? 

 

Well there are a lot of tourists in the area and I think they pick them up and then also people who sell crafts. But sea shells are also had to find now because the destruction to the coral reefs… there are less shellfish now… and less shell fish mean less food for bigger fish or animals like octopus… so it is pretty sad. 

 

What do you think the future is going to be like in Montego bay?

 

Tourism is one-side in Jamaica. I heard about community tourism the other day and I was really excited. Tourists being able to go into local homes and experience the real Jamaica… but to me this is just an idea… I really don’t see tourists and especially those who go to these all-inclusive resorts going out into the community. They aren’t encouraged to do that anyway. I think locals would like to meet tourists and interact with them but really foreigners just keep to themselves and their hotels and use our beaches to relax. 

 

Do you have a message to tourists? 

 

Yes! Jamaica is fun! We are nice people! It is a beautiful country! I would like to encourage everyone to mingle with us locals. 

"It's embarrassing when tourists pick up our garbage."

Kingston, Jamaica

What is your name?

 

Phillip

 

Do you have a favorite childhood memory from the ocean?

 

The first big beach I ever when to was in St. Thomas and I climbed the big rocks and there was a beautiful view of the beach. You follow the river to the beach.

 

What is your relationship like now with the beach?

 

Well I love the ocean. I go to the ocean sometimes to meditate. Listen to the waves splash. I love the water. It’s the island you know so I have to love the water. 

 

What are tourists' relationship like with the ocean?

 

I don’t think tourist litter… because they came from countries that have proper hygiene or garbage disposables.  Sometimes the tourist themselves walk around and pick up garbage. That’s embarrassing. Can you imagine? It's embarrassing when tourists pick up our garbage.  

 

What is Jamaican society's relationship like with the ocean?

 

Well what I would like to see happen in Jamaica is that we take better care of the beach… or the ocean I should say… you know… clean up the trash… no litering… we need to protect the ocean… much better. No plastics. We should keep the ocean friendly. 

 

Do you think of tourism in Jamaica? 

 

I don’t think tourist liter… because they came from countries that have proper hygiene or garbage disposables.  Sometimes the tourist themselves walk around and pick up garbage. That’s embarrassing. 

 

What do you think people can do to promote social good in Jamaica? 

 

They should put things to collect garbage. In America… every garbage has its own bin. You got one for paper. One for garbage. One of plastic. One for can. One for bottle. You should have something like that here. 

 

Do you want to say anything else? 

 

I would just say that I am glad I met you guys… 

 

"Tourism is one-sided in Jamaica."

Kingston, Jamaica

What is your name?

 

Tamika

 

Do you have a favorite childhood memory from the ocean?

 

Yes… I remember my brother and i were playing on the beach and I grabbed the sand and threw it at him but it didn’t catch him… it actually caught a lady… so I got in trouble for that.

 

What is your relationship like now with the beach?

 

I absolutely love the beach. I find it very relaxing. I absolutely love it. 

 

What is Jamaican society's relationship like with the beach?

 

Well… you can tell that Jamaicans definitely love it. Whenever we have a holiday the beach is completely packed. We definitely love it. 

 

What are tourists' relationship like with the ocean?

 

Tourists love our beaches because it is white and sandy… we have the most beautiful beaches… they are very nice and sort. They definitely like our beaches. 

 

What is the relationship like between locals and tourists?

 

The relationship between tourists and locals is that locals re always very welcoming and try to be as warm as they possibly can… I think locals try to be as open and friendly.

 

What do you think the future is for tourism here in Jamaica?

 

I think that tourists make our prices higher and local people cannot benefit from the tourism… we cannot purchases food items. The tourists make all the prices go up but only the all-inclusive resorts benefit. I hope in the future tourism can be more sustainable. The US Dollars keeps rising it will only get higher for us here locally. They make their dollars against the US so until they acknowledge that the local needs… the cost of living in Jamaica will only get higher and harder.

 

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