Bluefields, Westmoreland Parish, Jamaica
Bluefields is one of the oldest settled areas in Jamaica, and was built by the Spanish in the 17th century. After the expulsion of the Spanish by the British, the city withered, but the bay was still used, especially by pirates. Nowadays, the community has managed to curb the piracy, although the bay is still used by avid seafarers to launch legitimate (albeit not as exciting) fishing expeditions. In spite of its intriguing history, most Jamaicans immediately associate Bluefields with the pristine beach set against verdant rolling hills, a popular destination for locals, especially on public holidays.
The Bluefields People's Community Association is a not-for-profit grassroots organization that sprang up in the late 1980s. The organization, which has received much international recognition, promotes sustainable social and economic development for the people of Bluefields and surrounding communities by fostering small business and agricultural development programs. Volunteers from around the world have come to Bluefields and worked with Jamaicans to create and implement community development structures, and the friendships formed through these alliances have added much value to an authentic Jamaican experience.
Bluefields Beach Park is one of the most popular beaches among Jamaicans. On weekends and public holidays, the park comes alive with the delightful smells and sounds of family picnics, with, of course, Reggae music playing in the background. The beach is remarkable, and large enough for everyone to enjoy his or her own space to relax and socialize on the powdery white sand or in the clear warm water.
The small community of Belmont falls in the Bluefields area, and in a small yard off the main road is the Peter Tosh Memorial. Peter Tosh, world-renowned Reggae artist, outspoken and militant poet and songwriter, was one of the original Wailers who shared Bob Marley's initial rise to fame. Tosh spent his early years in the community before moving to Trench Town in Kingston where he met Livingston "Bunny" Wailer and Bob Marley, when the three combined talents to form the Wailers. His mother and stepfather still share a humble house behind the memorial, a small open building containing Tosh's tomb and some memorabilia.
Say Hello To:
Wolde Kristos is an extremely outgoing young man with great dreams and the drive to achieve them. He is a community activist who works with the Bluefields People's Community Association organizing projects and securing funding for the organization. Wolde has lived in the Bluefields area all his life, and knows almost everyone in the district, as well as much of the history of the region. Stop in at the BPCA office along the main road and ask for him; he can also help to organize Volunteer/Working holidays, home stays and small excursions into the area.