Small Islands Voice Global Forum
Support from around the world for keeping beaches open to the public
Several people have written to support Emile Louis’ suggestions for restoring public use and access to the beach at Pigeon Point, Tobago in the Caribbean. A selection of the responses received follows.
Good for you! Stand by your rights, show force and determination, this is only the beginning, others will follow. Get the government to implement the law, writes Geoffrey Gosling of Nevis in the Caribbean.
The same thing has been attempted in Barbuda, sister island to Antigua, also in the Caribbean, writes Marjorie. The residents there had to resort to using bulldozers to tear down the fences and other barricades. The authorities in Antigua were silent on the matter, but the will and determination of the 1,200 residents of Barbuda prevailed. Remember good will overcome evil in the end so don’t give up your rights.
Julia Moore from the Caribbean thanks Emile Louis for his detailed comments on the situation at Pigeon Point and strongly condemns the action by the estate owners. She firmly agrees that no CARICOM (Caribbean Community) citizen should utilize any property or product that is geared towards keeping the people out of the nation's beaches. Signs leading to the beach need to be erected advising the people of the legal beach entrance. Such signs should state ‘Beach Entrance Only’. The laws of our countries have not changed and therefore the people should be informed via local news media of their rights and the rights of the owners. The owners, of course, have a right to refuse entry to their hotel. She will not encourage or support the company owners of the Pigeon Point Estate and will advise other people of the situation. She suggests that this article should be sent to all the leading newspapers in the Caribbean to highlight the situation concerning the beaches. Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago is a good time for creating public awareness by printing fliers and putting up billboards. The Planning Department should be kept informed of the situation and pressure should be brought on them to ensure that an ‘allowed path of a certain number of feet’ is on all documents, including land surveys.
Maureen from the Seychelles comments on the ‘greed of man’ in Tobago and also suggests using the written press and mass media to launch a campaign against the estate owners and their companies.
On the proposal by Emile Louis to boycott the products and services of the owners of the Pigeon Point Estate, George Grant of Grenada in the Caribbean supports the idea, and prays that the locals are wise enough to follow the suggestion. However, he thinks that if they are anything like citizens in his country, then they are probably befuddled by complacency, lethargy and apathy.
Johanna Taripo from Rarotonga in the Cook Islands in the Pacific believes that beaches should stay open for the public and should not be taken over by some ‘bigwig’ company. Support also comes from John McKinnon in New Zealand who suggests making it difficult for the new owners by keeping them busy with e-mails and faxes reminding them that there are people who care about traditional rights.
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