Minister of Natural Resources Vincent Wheatley has said a Beach Management Commission will be will be enacted to enforce the proposed Beach Policy when it is passed.
He made the announcement at a recent community meeting in West End where the policy was discussed with residents.
“If you are going to have these rules governing the beaches and you don’t enforce them, then you’re wasting your time. So, getting that beach committee is so critical going forward — to give them the teeth to enforce the rules that we are going to put in place based on all the input from the various stakeholders,” the minister said.
He further said: “Fines will be the first course of action which will be determined based on the input from the discussions.”
Deputy Secretary in Ministry of Natural Resources Joseph Smith-Abbott said the commission will comprise officers within the ministry, the Trade Department, the National Parks Trust, environmental departments, and the private sector.
“What we aim to achieve is to have the commission … be able to receive applications for the various types of uses and to vet those applications against some of the criteria, the standards that’s going to be promoted as part of the framework,” Smith-Abbott explained.
He also said that it will take some time before the commission is fully formed and functional.
“It’s a process. It’s obviously something that has worked us whereby we’ve looked very carefully to some of the work from the other commissions, especially in the US beaches,” Smith-Abbott said.
Beach Policy needed
The proposed beach policy is being described as a proactive way of maintaining the territory’s marine environment.
Natural Resouces Minister, Wheatley, there said, “the main aim of the policy is to ensure that, going forward, that the BVI has sustainable use of the beaches”.
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