Beautiful Virgin Islands

Monday, Sep 25, 2023

VG resort owner warned against blocking access to beach

VG resort owner warned against blocking access to beach

Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Hon Melvin M. Turnbull (R2) has again warned persons against violations of beach legislation, specifically, to property owners who restrict access to beaches in the Virgin Islands.

“All BVI beaches are public. No VI resident or their guests should be made to feel that they do not have the right to enjoy any BVI beach,” the Minister said in a warning issued during a statement delivered at yesterday's March 9, 2023, Fourth Sitting of the Fifth Session of the Fourth House of Assembly in Road Town.

Some persons still violating beach laws - Hon Turnbull

“Mr Speaker, based on reports that have been received in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labor, both written and verbal, it is evident that some persons still do not understand the law or simply choose not to adhere to it,” he said.

The minister pointed to one incident, which he said was reported to his Ministry with extensive documentation, happening on the sister island of Virgin Gorda, at Little Trunk Bay, where he visited with District Representative Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley (R9), along with At Large Representative, Hon Shereen D. Flax Charles.

“On Little Trunk Bay Estate, the owner has taken it upon himself to create his own rules for beach access, it is alleged Mr Speaker, and reports have been made that he's attempting to restrict access to the beach.”
The Minister issued a warning that all VI beaches remain public, while delivering a speech delivered at yesterday's March 9, 2023, Fourth Sitting of the Fifth Session of the Fourth House of Assembly.

Resort owner reportedly harassing beachgoers

Hon Turnbull added that the property owned also engages in, “Harassing beach users by attempting to police their time spent at the beach [and] Using obscenities towards persons who would confront him or ignore him while trying to access the beach.”

The Minister detailed that the individual in question would also erect illegal signage to restrict parking in the area.

“Mr Speaker, not only is this behavior illegal, but it propagates attitudes about ownership, race and status that we cannot allow. The people of this territory, Mr Speaker, have rights that we must protect. We welcome investment, development and integration, but we do not welcome discrimination,” he said.

The Minister further pointed to resolution No. 7 of 1989 of the then legislative council, which established that beaches hold a special place in the natural patrimony of the territory and were to be managed to ensure continued traditional free access and use.

Public has right to access all beaches in VI- Hon Turnbull

The Minister reminded that the public has a right to occupy the water and the shore of every beach up to the area of land that is owned privately.

“Mr Speaker, even if a beach is linked to a private property, access must still be provided for public use. All property owners and managers who may be engaged and prevented beach users are asked to cease and desist immediately,” he said.

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