Saturday 4 April, 2020

PHOTOS: Bring laws to protect our beaches for the general public

Chairs and umbrellas provided by Nicole Blades and other beach vendors at Crane beach.

Chairs and umbrellas provided by Nicole Blades and other beach vendors at Crane beach.

With planned protest action scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday, March 31, at Crane Beach in St. Philip, one beach vendor is calling for the next government to look into the legislation and amend it to ensure private beaches are not possible.

Nicole Blades who plies her trade at the popular beach told Loop News this evening:

"The legislation needs to change as it relates to beach front properties, public beach access and privatization." Speaking in a general sense beyond the present issue between the vendors and the management of The Crane Resort, she said that hotels can provide for their guests but they should inhibit access for locals, on-island people and cruise ship passengers who visit the beaches. "You [a hotelier] can't say this is my beach!" she asserted.

Crane Beach on Good Friday

With the 'Dah Beach is Mine' protest to unfold tomorrow, she said:

"It is a picnic. Come out and take a stance. Come out in our numbers and set an example and let these people know and let the Barbadian government know that when people come to invest in the country, there are rules and regulations to be followed, and they are set for everybody conducting business in this country."

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Noting that she had beach chairs and umbrellas set up today, Loop asked her what the real issue was at this location. She explained that the Crane Resort has "stretched out." Looking at the long line of blue beach chairs and umbrellas provided by the hotel, she said that they have decided to come further down the beach. So where was free for the beach vendors to layout their chairs, is not occupied by extra hotel chairs.

Asked when these issues began, Blades who has been vending at Crane from the early 90s, said, "From 2009, 2015, 2017, and now 2018." Looking at the beach today, there is little beach as the waves crashed far inland and the sargassum seaweed was being deposited in heaps.

Blades said that the appearance of the beach is not unusual. "Every year, the sea comes up takes the sand. This is a changing beach, but this issue with Crane, it is all year problem."

Moreover, when questioned about those individuals who are bemoaning the influx of beach umbrellas across beaches on island, she went on to say, "It’s not the umbrellas, the tourist industry is our breadwinner that supports the country, so the tourists, they really need the chairs and the umbrellas, but my issue is the privatization of the beaches."

She even added that in the past, persons have been confronted by signs saying ‘private’ at Crane Beach. She said they were erected by the hotel and then they were removed.

Therefore, Blades says she lauds the efforts of all who will turn up tomorrow, because, "I know the tourism industry is expanding and this beach is highly rated, so for the beach, it is quite possibly one of the busiest beaches on the island in terms of tourism and so we must get it right for locals and for the tourists."

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