“Tings go’wan down here mon!! Down in da beach here in a da Bay, tings a go’awn!!
The people dem came out for a meetin’, one meetin’ where dey learned dat deir voices need to be heard, must be heard, and dat dey mus’ get involve fo da beach to improve, to develop.”
This is what you might hear if you listened to some people talking on the beach—or at least I hope so, because believe me, THINGS ARE GOING ON! Things are happening. Once again the truth that “progress is God’s law” has proved true. Let me take a breath as I try to repeat, again, the ideas for the development of the Old Harbour Bay fishing beach…
FIRST, let me tell you what went on last Thursday evening (October 28). It became clear that an election meeting of sorts was needed, where the fishermen would nominate themselves or representatives, as well as other groups, like the fish venders, scrapers, market venders, shop owners. That meeting happened Thursday and went reasonably well. I now have several names of people who have agreed to come to Management Committee meetings and represent their fellow beach users.
This meeting was so necessary because at the last Beach Management Committee meeting, only SEVEN people came, and no one could say that they were representing the beach and its interests. That was very disappointing. Hopefully, now that I have some names of Beach representatives, we should have a stronger Beach Management Committee. With a stronger committee, where all the agencies are represented, we can draft up a proper development plan, hearing the issues from all the different angles, so that the project can work, both on the ground and in the offices.
So, some of the development plans as they stand right now:
Tomarrow, a tractor and truck are supposed to come to the new market ground and continue clearing what was started some two weeks ago. One man living on that same market ground needs to move out and his house will have to come down. The ground needs to be cleared of the rest of the bush and the rubbish/landfill area in the corner. Marl needs to continue to be spread over the newly cleared areas. The spaces for each shop “pegged out” and numbered for each shop owner to draw shop numbers from a raffle. Shop owners need to move to this newly prepared market ground, according to specific building instructions. The road spaces between the rows of shops need to be paved. The fence between the roadside and the market need to fix up properly, and the hole in the concrete wall to be patched up, while one gate installed in the far corner near the new sanitation block.
Market Venders and Fish net repairers will switch places—right now, they are each occupying the other groups’ shed. The market venders will move out from the shed near the sea and to the market shed in the market area, while the fish net repair persons will transport their business to the shed near the boats and the sea.
Sanitation Block and Refuse Bay
It is proposed that one of the existing gear sheds be converted to a sanitation block consisting of about 15 stalls for the men and women. The building is perfect because a lot of the work of building the pits is already completed. The refuse is also a very needed and necessary aspect of providing some order and cleanliness on the beach. The refuse bay is supposed to fill with drums so that trash collection around the beach and emptying into the truck is easiest for everyone.
Gear Sheds and renovation of Fish Vending Stalls
More gear sheds need to be either found or built, so that all fishermen occupying the fish vending stalls can vacate the spaces for renovation (running water installed, concrete repairs, grill repairs painting). Fish venders will then move in and benefit from the stall’s fresh running water, instead of using the polluted ocean water to clean and scrape the fish.
Building a new wharf/jetty
A wharf must be built to replace the old one that was destroyed in the storm. This is necessary for the livelihood of several fishermen.
What you see here is just the beginning of project and development of ideas.
I am on the beach as often as possible, talking to people and trying to bring understanding and trust among all the different groups and agencies. I know that only God can really do that, but I do have hope that the whole project will come together. I think that the people are ready for these changes, ready for order to come to the beach.
I just hope that the committee can bind together with a spirit of co-operation, willingness, an open mind, and one vision.
IN THIS SPIRIT, THOUGH DIVERSE WE ARE, WE CAN DO ANYTHING!!
One Father, One Love, One Vision, One Beach!
Maybe something like that could be our motto…
With much love,