Paynes Bay row
“DON’T block this beach. It’s unfair. The small man has to live.”
These were the angry chants yesterday of dozens of beach operators on the West Coast, who are fearful that the beach access at Paynes Bay, St James, will be blocked off.
Taxi driver Lester Phillips told the DAILY NATION it would be unfortunate if the property owners blocked off the access that would impact on the business of jet ski operators, chair vendors, taxi drivers, and food sellers, who depend on the tourists who traverse the beach.
“A hole has been dug by the property owners and it seems to me a wall will be erected and a gate as well. This should not be allowed to happen, and something has to be done about this.
“I hope this is looked into. You know for badness to [prosper], it is for good people to sit down and not do anything,” he said.
The beach operators have the support of former Senator Kerrie Symmonds, who visited the area in the company of Barbados Labour Party comrades Opposition Leader Mia Mottley and St Thomas Member of Parliament (MP) Cynthia Forde.
Symmonds said that when things were done in an arbitrary way to remove traditional pathways, people were essentially being deprived of the chance to feed their families.
“The issue in Paynes Bay is one of beach access. It arose about a week and a half ago when an unnecessary threat was made to block what has been a traditional right of way to the beach.
“Residents from Laynes Road, Holder’s Hill and other surrounding areas used that access, but it is not only that access. There are others as well which have throughout time been either narrowed or blocked.”
Symmonds, who from 2003 to 2008 was the MP for St James Central, in which Paynes Bay is located, said he wanted common sense to prevail and the time had come for meeting with all of the stakeholders, especially all of the property owners on the West Coast.
“We appreciate the presence of investors in the country, but the investors have to come to Barbados and do so in a way in which they understand and appreciate that they are certain Barbadian values and traditional expectations of the local community and that we cannot easily or lightly walk away from those expectations and values,” he added.
Reports indicate the properties on both sides are owned by one family – one of whom is overseas, while the others were unavailable for comment.
Judy Scott is worried that if access to the beach is shut off, it will hurt her food business in a major way.
Here, Leader Mia Mottley, former Senator Kerrie Symmonds and St Thomas Member of Parliament Cynthia Forde, said the time had come for a meeting with all the stakeholders, especially property owners, to deal with the issue. Mottley makes a point to Dexter Smith, spokesman for the beach operators.