Residents of Layou marched through the town on Sunday before heading down to Jackson Bay chanting “We don’t want no wharf – all we want we beach!”
It was a classic ‘beach day’ on Sunday, March 27 – all sun and no cloud. The residents didn’t have far to go to dispel the heat, and dozens of families made their way down to Jackson Bay and set up along the stretch of sand.
A popular spot seemed to be on one end of the beach where a group of adults engage in their weekly game of beach football not far from a group of younger boys engaged in a similar game.
This is the site where SVG Aggregate Inc wishes to develop a jetty for the loading of aggregate trucked from Palmiste in the Layou mountains.
If their desires come to pass, it would be the third jetty that exists in the town.
However, people are making their voices heard against the proposal, and on Sunday residents continued their campaign against the jetty.
They gathered at the sea wall from approximately 3:00p.m, equipped with bells, a horn, candles and signs with punchy messages.
“Brother Ebony has nothing – Leave Layou Bay alone”; “Not Jackson Bay – Back Off”; “Put your jetty on Blue Lagoon”; and “The beach is our livelihood”, were some of the messages on placards held aloft.
All ages joined the march from those over 75 to young children of five years old. Many believe the move to put a jetty will affect older folks who use the beach as a healing balm for aches and pains, as well as the children who are excited to play in the sand and the sea.
“I want to know why do you need another wharf? To do what? There is only one little piece of beach left – between here (where she stood) down to the corner, what we call Jackson Bay – to bathe,” said Rosmund Welcome of Akers, Layou.
“Elderly people get up on early mornings and they will go down there and have their swim. My daughter love to go to the beach. When you go and put another wharf there, where are we going to get a sea bath? How are we going to get a swim when you want to have a bath?” she asked.
“Sometimes you’re home the place is hot, and you feel so ‘boy I could go to the beach’,” she disclosed, “…people walk all the way from the top of the hill and come down to go to Jackson Bay to bathe.”
She asked the question that seems to be on the minds of many Layou resident: “why is it that you choose the onliest place down there that most people go and enjoy themselves and have a bath. Why you want to take it away?”
Cecil Williams AKA ‘Jonesy’ chose to give his time to the cause on a weekend afternoon because “One little piece ah beach we get and you can’t go put the wharf there because it go spoil the beach.”
He also noted that they wouldn’t be able to throw their seines in the area. “So we have to campaign” against it.
“Any time you put wharf down there- well is the whole place…” Asbert ‘Mama Jama’ Williams commented.
“I used to go down Jackson Bay and exercise – So we ain want no wharf. We done have two wharf already so please leave the beach quiet,” he requested.
Five year old Rackeem Maingot accompanied his mother to the gathering and he wanted to deliver his input, noting, “I don’t want no wharf because dey so where I exercise and bathe.”
Another young girl wrote her sign by herself which said “We don’t have a swimming pool at home so we have to save our beach.”
One of the beachgoers who joined in to express support said “I am a Layou woman – I am from Layou. I have been a resident here from all you know it. I am happy to be from Layou and I love my people.”
“I’m fighting (together) with my people and we are saying we don’t want the wharf,” she said.
“If you take a look around, you will see the children playing football, you will see them playing cricket. It has to be some kind of passion why all of us come out here today. Christians, non-christians, Labour, NDP – everybody is here.”
“We are saying to these people who want to put a next wharf here – they have two up there already. Arwe nah want no more, we good. This is where I come to relax when I’m stressed…”
She continued, “The wharf and too much quarry and trucking is gonna interfere with my serenity okay? So thank you guys but we don’t play. When you hear Layou people come out we does come out in a force. Thank you!”