Assertion by the Honourable Melvin M. Turnbull
Minister for Pure Assets and Labour
Second Sitting of the Fifth Session of the Fourth Home of Meeting
26th January 2023
Unauthorised Use of Seashores within the Territory
Madam Speaker, I rise to deal with the necessary and regarding problem of a big enhance within the unauthorised use of seashores within the Territory. Seashores are arguably BVI’s most necessary asset, contributing considerably to our high quality of life as residents and to our financial system. A 2013 research titled, Tourism Worth of the Atmosphere carried out by the Institute of Environmental Research, College of Amsterdam, discovered that 75.8% of vacationers surveyed agreed that “seashores within the BVI are significantly lovely”.
Like every asset that’s worthwhile, but fragile and anticipated to face the check of time, our seashores have to be cared for and correctly managed. Madam Speaker, our seashores are as a substitute affected by misuse and abuse and what could also be described as a administration disaster. The Ministry of Pure Assets and Labour is liable for the administration of all seashores in The Virgin Islands that fall outdoors the boundaries of declared Nationwide Parks. The Ministry is continuous to take steps to enhance administration of seashores within the Territory and the diploma of success of those efforts depends upon the extent of understanding and cooperation of the general public.
As a part of the Ministry’s administration measures to make sure that the usage of seashores doesn’t degrade the seashore setting, or end in conflicts between completely different customers, the Ministry has had a long-standing apply requiring permission for all industrial makes use of and sure non-commercial makes use of of the seashore. That apply was formalised as coverage in 2020 with Cupboard’s approval of The Virgin Islands Seaside Coverage, which is offered on the Ministry’s web site: bvi.gov.vg/setting.
The Seaside Coverage requires that individuals apply to the Ministry of Pure Assets and Labour for permission to make use of seashores for any industrial exercise, whatever the dimension of the operation, presence or absence of a construction, sort of construction, or whether or not it’s a short-term or everlasting operation. This is applicable to all bar or restaurant operations, snack merchandising, memento or craft merchandising, seashore chair rental, water sport operations, different nature-based actions, hair braiding companies, spa/therapeutic massage companies, or another exercise involving the sale of products or companies on the seashore.
The Coverage additionally requires the Ministry’s approval of non-commercial actions in instances the place there can be teams bigger than 50 individuals, loudspeakers or open fires. Madam Speaker, this will embody, for instance, giant or loud personal events or barbeques, public leisure occasions, sporting occasions, household reunions, tenting, church occasions, company occasions, cultural occasions and so forth.
Madam Speaker, the Ministry is conscious that many individuals and organizations are finishing up industrial actions and non-commercial occasions on seashores with out the required permission. In finishing up these actions, along with violating the Seaside Coverage, in lots of situations individuals are constructing constructions on the seashore illegally and even squatting on Crown land. Individuals are additionally working with out fundamental authorized necessities like a commerce licence, liquor licence and meals handler’s licence.
Along with requiring permission to be used as outlined above, Madam Speaker, the Seaside Coverage units out parameters inside which individuals should function to make sure the safety of the seashore and the enjoyment of all customers. For instance, the Coverage states that no tools or seashore chairs ought to stay on the sandy space of the seashore except they’re in use. All objects not in use have to be instantly faraway from the sandy space. This can be a provision that we see blatantly violated at a number of seashores, together with Cane Backyard Bay and Lengthy Bay, Beef Island. This violation impacts on the general public’s capacity to benefit from the seashore because the sand is commonly coated with empty seashore chairs in the course of the weekend, stopping customers from accessing most popular areas of the seashore and obstructing views.
Madam Speaker, along with managing seashore use, as an necessary measure to stabilise and preserve seashores for generations to come back, the Seaside Coverage prohibits individuals from slicing seashore vegetation. But, Madam Speaker, we see situations, together with very just lately at Lengthy Bay, Beef Island, the place industrial operators take it upon themselves with none dialogue with or approval from the Ministry to clear reduce giant areas of seashore vegetation.
Madam Speaker, whereas it falls inside the Ministry’s mandate, everybody has a collective accountability for correct administration of our seashores by complying with the Seaside Coverage and respecting all relevant legal guidelines of the Territory.
Madam Speaker, one purpose for my intervention in the present day is to once more make the general public conscious of the necessities to use for permission to make use of seashores for any industrial exercise in addition to non-commercial makes use of in instances the place there can be teams bigger than 50 individuals, loudspeakers or open fires, and to remind individuals of different necessities round seashore use, set out within the Seaside Coverage. Nonetheless, Madam Speaker, the important goal of my intervention in the present day is to warn all members of the general public and industrial operators that the Ministry won’t proceed to tolerate such blatant violations round seashore use and administration. The Ministry will collaborate with the Royal Virgin Islands Police Drive, the City and Nation Planning Division, Commerce Division, the Legal professional Basic’s Chambers and different related authorities to uphold the Seaside Coverage and implement all relevant laws. Because of this, sooner or later, individuals can count on for unapproved occasions and industrial actions to be shut down.
Madam Speaker, Members of the Home would bear in mind that as an necessary a part of its efforts to boost seashore administration within the Territory, final 12 months the Ministry led the method to develop the Lengthy Bay, Beef Island Seaside Administration Plan which is able to function a pilot for improvement of different seashore administration plans. There’s funding permitted on this 12 months’s price range for implementation of the Plan. Within the context of that seashore, all present operators can count on to obtain formal correspondence from the Ministry shortly, together with the seashore guidelines they have to observe and the implications for breaking these guidelines, because the seashore administration plan is carried out.
Madam Speaker, all of us love our seashores and we profit significantly from them however these advantages will quickly cease flowing if as a group we don’t shortly study to work collectively to respect the seashore setting and fellow seashore customers. I urge all listening to accomplice with the Ministry by supporting our efforts to boost seashore administration within the Territory for everybody’s profit and pleasure.