BVI News

‘We don’t feel safe at some local beaches’ | WE residents back the need for beach policy in BVI

Members of the West End community voiced their concerns on the current state of beaches in the British Virgin Islands and various beach activities that are harming the environment.

Those sentiments were expressed at a community meeting held at the Lenora Delville Primary School on October 7 to discuss the government’s proposed beach policy.

During the meeting, President of the North Side Beautification Committee Daphne Soutt fielded a number of questions and suggestions to Minister of Natural Resources, Vincent Wheatley.

Fear on beaches in BVI

She said that the sense of security on local beaches is now a thing of the past as beachgoers now have a major fear of being attacked by an animal or being asked to vacate a beach.

“Sometimes you’re in the beach and you see the dogs and you’re scared because you don’t know if the dog is going to come and attack you or come for your children,” Stoutt said.

Noting instances when persons were asked to leave certain beaches by property owners, Stoutt questioned whether persons can go to any local beach as they please. 

In response, Minister Wheatley said no one can legally prevent anyone else from visiting any beach in the BVI.

“All beaches are public but we still have to be mindful that we are a popular tourist destination. The policy tries to address this and create that balance where investors feel comfortable having you on the beach and we feel comfortable using the beach.”

System to penalise vendors with improper waste management needed

Stoutt also addressed the need for something to be done about the amount of garbage which is seen on some beaches.

She believes a system should be put in place for vendors who fail to properly dispose of their waste.

“When people apply for a permit to go on the beach, they should leave a deposit and somebody needs to go and inspect that beach when they’re finished. If the beach is in the condition that you get it, you would get your deposit back,” Stoutt said.

Limited space to swim on some beaches

The West End resident raised a concern about the availability of space for persons to swim at some beaches. She said space has become an issue because of watercraft that dock too close to the shorelines.

“If you go to Jost Van Dyke on a Sunday you can scarcely get into the sea because of the boats. There should be a line where the boats have to stay beyond. It’s too much. It is really too much,” she said.

Vending permits on beaches to be assessed

She also questioned the Deputy Premier on how many permits are being issued for vending on the beach at Smuggler’s Cove in West End.

She said: “We were at Smuggler’s Cove planting one day and the next day there was a beach bar put up. They broke and damaged all the trees we put in and they leave the garbage on the beach.”

Meanwhile, another West End resident Dyllan Penn agreed with the suggestion by the minister to get all the beaches properly organised and defined. He said once each beach is properly defined, it will effectively allow the Town & Country Planning Department to be better able to determine the type of permits which are issued to a vendor for a particular beach.

Need for signage

Penn also stated the need for proper signage on beaches in the BVI and further noted the need for proper enforcement of the beach policy so persons can take them seriously.

Following the meeting, Minister Wheatley said once all the information from public consultations is collated and assessed, a revised policy will be brought back to the public within the next two months.

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24 Comments

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  1. BUGBEAR says:

    What about the chairs spread out on the beach? Are these businesses paying extra for taking up space on the beach? Can they be asked to move when they are empty so that others can also utilise prime beach space for what ever reason eg. a Birthday party

    Like 28
    Dislike 1
    • Ugly incident says:

      There was an ugly incident at White Bay. A very rude and aggressive boater was trying to tie his stern line to one of the new trees planted at the Soggy Dollar. He lost his cool when he was told that he could not. We need police officers on the beach to deal with these sorts of idiots.

  2. Retired says:

    I notice the lack of the color warning flags on Tortola’s north shore beaches since Irma 2 years ago. High surf warnings are issued often by the DDM yet there is no visible sign of these warnings on the north shore beaches.

    • No nonsense says:

      @ retired, thanks so much to our dedicated life guards, who never had an office, transport and ONLY 2 of them. Wonder what their time card looked like without over time. We never miss the water till the well run dry. Thanks to Mr air miles to destroy that department and send staff scrambling

  3. The beach is mine, we can go there any time. says:

    Asking anyone to leave any beach in the BVI is an act of diiscrimination and should be upgraded to a civil rights offense done.

    All beaches in the BVI have been designated free and public, regardless of ownership, since the early 1960’s, and there is legislation to substantiate this..

    Anyone wishing to impose ARPARTHIED like laws, relative to beach visitation, in the BVI needs to first acquaint themselves with the law, and if still unhappy with it, pack up and leave.

    The beaches are ours. We can go to them anytime, period! If we can’t go to a beach for the same reasons they do, where can we go? They do not have that right to take that right from us, period. Can we go to their private pools?

    Absolutely, no ARPARTHIED practices or actions thereof are welcomed and should be allowed to be practiced here.

    Hoping the Minister stands firm on this.

    Like 13
    Dislike 18
    • you are right says:

      Nobody can ask you to leave any beach.

      BUT:

      this has nothing to do with discrimination or apartheid.

      Don’t try to blame everything on those topics. Has nothing to do with it.

      Like 26
      Dislike 2
      • @you are right says:

        You are right if you live outside of the mainstream, are a history and reality denyer, or exist in a don’t know, denial of history or la, la land.

        They love your butt wiping kind though.

        Dislike 14
    • OK But ... says:

      What about tourist guests who have been chased off beaches by local people telling them white people are not allowed on this beach because it ‘belongs to us’?
      I’m talking about a beach where almost no one goes, but on more than one occasion tourists have been physically threatened, had their cars damaged/stolen – and no doubt been put off coming to the BVI ever again.
      Access to beaches and the beaches themselves must be open to ANYONE – black, white, blue, green.
      Stop trying to make a false race narrative. If you have principles, apply them to all humans and don’t cherry pick to suit your own angle on history.

      Like 13
      Dislike 1
  4. Got ur says:

    Private Islands,what about those beaches we can’t even go close because prev.Govt give water rights.Are they a country of difference in BVI.Watch it here’s looking at ya closely.Nicker, Moskito,OilNut, the list goes on.

    Like 11
    • @Got ur says:

      Very valid and truthful points.

      It is us who must agitate with our leaders for the protection of our rights.

      As some of them will sell us out for a dollar no doubt, while we will end up minus our freedoms and surrounded by wolves, lions and hyenas on two feet with a mindless heartless body.

      Many today would like to relegate us from our little village to their measley paying job and back to our illage by 5:30.

      Yes that mentality has gone no where, it is just hidden at the moment.

      It is hoped that our current leaders will create the necessary legislation to protect us from becoming a rightless inferior people in our own home land.

      Hope they read and act on these comments. Protect us today or your grand and great, and great, great great grands will become mere servants and will be treated less than the 3/5 human they think we are right now.

      Take the legislative precautions and act now, leaders.

      Like 5
      Dislike 4
    • Stfu says:

      Why would you just want to jump up and go oil nut, necker etc? Because you can? Because it’s your rights or just want to cause trouble? The bVI have way more better beaches than necker and oil nut bay. I mean it’s public you can go; but why?

      Like 9
      Dislike 3
  5. Peaches says:

    There need to be Code Enforcement and Zoning Divisions in the BVI that helps regulations and citations in the community. I visit my hometown often and the beauty of how our beaches were are not so now. It is very upsetting when you see how residents keep their properties with too much eye sore and un-necessary rubbish. What about junk pickup and having leins given to home owners and businesses. Too many overgrown bushees and abandon buildings that should be taken down and cleaned our. When the businesses get the citations and leins on their properties they will first keep the areas clean. The beaches therefore will be much cleaner and the community will be more attracted to visiting, but first there have to be serious about enforcing citations.

  6. What do you expect says:

    Your Government sold you guys out.

    Like 5
    Dislike 2
  7. CW says:

    Did nobody read the article? I see lots of STRUPE COMMENTS ASKING QUESTIONS ALREADY ANSWERED OR TOTALLY UNRELATED. LIVE AND LET LIVE STRUPES, YOU ARE DESTROYING THE ONLY THING BVI HAS LEFT

  8. Ausar says:

    We have argued this issue before!

    Why are we still in discussion of this issue again?

    What I find so painful, is that time after time, this issue arises and not one Premier or representative, is INTERESTED in resolving this!

    As was stated before, it is obvious that law enforcement officials are needed at ALL beaches-to include the privately owned ones-,alongside with GOVERNMENTAL SIGNAGE POSTED AT ALL BEACHES, DETAILING THE RIGHTS OF BEACHGOERS IN THIS TERRITORY!

    That we are still in query as to what our rights are on ALL of our beaches, suggests to me, that we have not progressed, but are in a state of regression, bordering on a form of isolative and displacive tactics!

  9. Yes says:

    Agree with yout views fully on this Ausar.

    We are retrogressing it appears, as some are deliberately testing our very existential rights, even to bath in sea water.

  10. yep says:

    the human butt wiping kind, or the yes sah masser no sah masser type.

  11. Quiet Warrior says:

    Legally, all beaches in the VI are open to the public. Nonetheless, if access to the beach(s) are limited or obstructed, that is a hindrance to using and enjoying the beaches. The beaches can and should be shared. However, some property owners have the attitude that a beach is their’s and they have the right to restrict and limit use to their guest. Government has to shoulder the blame for this attitude, for though the law may be on the book that all beaches are open for public use, the law is poorly communicated and fearfully enforced.

    Government should ensure that proper access to beaches from both land and sea is available. Though in many cases, people may not be able drive up to the beach and park, access should still be available. It is important to note that users have a public right up to high water mark to use the beach. Users should respect one another and one’s property on the beach. Visitors may want serrated beaches but they should be briefed that the beaches are public and that they may have to share them with residents. If no, perhaps they want to look at another destination that embrace and provide that level of service.

  12. Windy says:

    Some people walking with dogs on the beach bring them as protection from HUMAN assault !
    FYI Vendor at Smugglers is bad news !! Really – a stalker. First hand knowledge from a terrified young female tourist.

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