Everything cannot be free
People go into business to make money. They invest money in an idea they believe can make them a reasonable return on that investment. Case in point: Puerto Seco Beach in St Ann. This is a beach I used to visit as a child, and I carry a lot of fond memories from those days.
These days, not many people are able to have similar memories simply because they can't afford to get in. Added to that, when they get in, they can't bring their own food or drink with them.
Now, I am in complete agreement with the idea that the operators of the beach can charge whatever they want to allow access. That is the nature of business. They must have done all the feasibility studies and cost/benefit analyses, so what they are charging is what those numbers tell them to charge.
There are people who argue, however, and with some merit, that many people are not able to pay those prices, hence, they are being excluded from using the beach because it is out of their reach.
People can pay
But that is not the operator's problem. Their numbers would have also told them that there are enough people out there who can pay and give them the kind of returns they are looking for. The issue is for those people who are not able to.
Jamaica, it seems, is always averse to the idea of people making a profit. We are more inclined to falling for the belief that everything must be free, but that is not how it works in the real world.
You have to pay for things. We don't buy anything - movies, music, merchandise - because we don't appreciate enough that it costs something to be able to provide a product or a service. That needs to change. If it does, I guarantee that the day will come when most Jamaicans will be able to afford to enter Puerto Seco Beach.
There is only one issue I have with the operator's stance, and that is their policy preventing people from bringing in their own food and drink. That is rubbish.
What they are doing is taking away the choice from the consumer. What if I don't want anything that the caterers there have on offer? What if I don't eat meat or some particular type of food, can they guarantee that they will have what I want there, and to my liking?
That policy, I believe, was implemented so as to guarantee the concessionaires sales, but it absolves those concessionaires of the responsibility of providing a certain standard of food and drink, and that doesn't help the consumer. Finally, why take away the joy of cooking some rice and peas and chicken, taking it to the beach, spreading a blanket, and having a nice Sunday picnic at the beach? That was the experience I had as a child, and I enjoyed it.
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