That cannot happen.
Those were the words used by an angry local hotelier following an announcement made by the island’s Tourism & Civil Aviation Minister Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen that a cruise ship had approached government for exclusive use of a local beach for its visitors to Grenada.
The hotelier called THE NEW TODAY Wednesday to slam the Keith Mitchell-led government for even entertaining the idea that was floated by one of the cruise ships that is planning to visit the island following the close to the tourism season due to the deadly coronavirus.
He described the idea as “insane” and warned the government that this is a matter to be decided upon solely by the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique and not at the level of the Cabinet of Ministers.
He questioned why the Mitchell government would even entertain a proposal that “would take away one of the few privileges that we have left”.
According to the hotelier, it is not even for the government to make a decision on who has right to access any beach on the island.
“We Grenadians have a right of access to the beaches – it is cast in stone. They can’t do that – I can’t even believe that they discussed it (the proposal from the cruise ship),” he said.
“That’s the trouble when you are having a government that is becoming dictatorial in their approach to governance,” he added.
The top hotelier expressed fears that if islanders give in to the cruise ship on this sensitive issue at this time then others will make approaches and even demand more beach space at the expense of locals.
“A very dangerous precedent will be set if they go that direction. And before you know it they will say that one of the beaches is now a private beach and locals will not have access to it,” he said.
According to the hotelier, he is concerned that the Mitchell government might have some kind of a hidden agenda and the true intention is to allow some privileged vendors to sell their products to the visitors.
He also branded the proposal put forward by the cruise ship which gave an undertaking to purchase US$4000.00 on every trip as making “no financial sense whatsoever”.
The hotelier anticipates that a lot of locals will object to any such move on the part of the Mitchell-led government to hand over a beach for the exclusive use of visitors.
He warned that no consideration should even be given to the idea of allowing “access to even part of the beach only for a few hours of the day” by any visitor to the island.
The issue of access to beaches have raised its head once again in Grenada as some property owners in a few well-to-do areas have been advertising private beaches to woo visitors to their establishments.
The issue is believed to have been settled in the early 1970’s when the New Jewel Movement (NJM) led by late Prime Minister Maurice Bishop mobilized residents in St. David to break down a gate that one Lord Brownlow had erected to prevent people from going to the La Sagesse beach.
Click here for article on the beach proposal.