THE Urban Development Corporation (UDC) has been ordered by the court to grant public access to Winnifred Beach in Portland, ending a five-year legal battle between the residents and the entity.
The ruling, which was handed down in the Port Antonio Resident Magistrate’s Court in the parish last month by Resident Magistrate Marjorie Moyston, said UDC has 90 days to create on a new title an easement for the right of the public to access the beach for bathing and recreation purposes.
Four members of the Free Winnifred Beach Benevolent Society took the matter to court five years ago, seeking a declaration of the public’s absolute and indefeasible right to access the beach.
This, after news broke that the UDC intended to develop the lands on which the beach is located, under Fairy Hill Phase 2. The features of Fairy Hill Phase 2, according to the 2006 environmental impact assessment (EIA) report on the proposed development, included not only the construction of beach cottages and residential lots, but also a Fairy Hill Beach Park.
“The beach park would feature, at minimum, the following amenities: a ticket office, guard post, business offices and family-oriented recreational facilities, as well as sanitary conveniences,” noted the EIA report done by consultants Technological and Environmental Management Network.
“The main feature of this development will be the 29 residential lots ranging in size from 821 to 1,505 metres-square. Beach cottages will also be constructed to provide temporary dwelling opportunities for beach patrons and other visitors to Portland who are desirous of extending their length of stay,” the EIA report added.
However, residents objected to the development on the grounds that it would interfere with the public’s free access to the beach, which forms a part of the development.
It is against this background that the members of the society, which was formally established later, filed a suit.
Following last month’s ruling, the Winnifred Benevolent Society expressed delight at the positive end to the five-year battle.
“Winnifred Benevolent Society wishes to celebrate the right for all to access the beach, the need to recognise community spaces where everybody can gather and spend a special day,” said the society’s co-ordinator, Maria Carla Gullotta.
She noted that while the association is happy with the decision, the fight is not yet over as the issue now on the table concerns who will control and maintain the facility in the proper way.
The society, she said, is ready to take control of the beach and will therefore be applying to lease the facility.
“It is indeed years since Winnifred is able to accommodate huge crowds, especially on holidays, thanks to the restless work of a bunch of people working at the beach; keeping it clean, trying to fix the bathrooms, trying to repair the road, making sure that on busy days we have lifeguards in place, clearing plastic bottles and teaching everyone to be gentle to all visitors,” she explained.
Gullotta said in the last three years they have been fighting to protect the turtles coming to the beach to make their nests. Some adults and teenagers are said to have created a task force to monitor them.
“We have the energy, the power and the expertise on the ground to control Winnifred Beach,” she insisted.
The society thanked its many supporters, including Geejam, for becoming part of Winnifred Benevolent Society to support its request to UDC to secure a lease.


  1. Mi seh…..dese nastiness try hard fi lock poor people outta simple pleasures like a beach. What ah piece ah brite and liberty tekkin. Free up di beach fi good…….

  2. Big up to di Free Winnifred Beach Benevolent Society fi show seh David can still beat Goliath. Thanks for going about this in the right way. Unno please guh di beach and show seh di victory was not in vain.
    Mi rass sick a dese fckng developers aka as parasites. Every beachfront fi develop into something and citizens fi pay fi access the God given beach. All Montego Bay, di one likkle Sunset beach is the sole free beach left in di city..eeda dat or death trap dump up weh full a drug users, insane persons, and gunmen. Unno please send me di donation page fi dis benevolent society suh dat mi can show mi appreciation monetarily. Best news fi come outta JA in a long rass time!

  3. Blame the stinking, wicked govt! If dem neva a sell it there would be no buyer.dutty jancrow dem jus inna power fi live offa ppl. Wah else lef fi them sell now?! All goat island dem sell off weh day. Jps gone, nwc?

  4. Met a Portland mi come from. Mi grow up going to Winnifred Beach . Friggin wicked dem. Imagine u live a Jamaica an cah go a the beach?!!! Ludicrous! !!

    1. Look how long that beach is there and nah badda nobody , the little vendor dem pan di road mek dem likkle money and the nice clean water whey belong to Porti people dem waa sell..I plan fi mek a bag a noise I dont want dem a mi place

      1. Mi say wen mi watch the show on cnn mi cry eye water met. Mi couldn’t believe. The show name Anthony Bourdain parts unknown. Mi no know if u did post the documentary yet. Bwoy mi nuh know wah go happen to Jamaica unda the hands of politician. Cuz if u neva have no seller u couldnt have no buyer. Wicked dem

        1. no it nuh post but one a di bloggers tell mi and mi ketch part a di video online all yessideh mi a cuss..why Portland y now? That same buyer is a long time teef..

          1. I dont think anyone offered to sell him anything. He went or heard about it and saw it, link one a him big fren dem and a so it guh. Demm fi science him mek him leave and tek him eye offa di place

  5. Yes I saw Parts Unknown with Mr Bourdain.I cried living eye wata as well,even Anthony felt it fi di ppl dem.All one a di local was talking how him feel and Mr Blackwell side man wah bad up di man fi shut him mouth

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