Beach access trouble blocks EMS

| 18/12/2017 | 69 Comments
Cayman News Service

Ambulance at Boggy Sands

(CNS): Efforts to rescue a visitor to the Cayman Islands after he got into difficulty in the sea off Boggy Sands Road, West Bay, Sunday lunchtime were severely hampered because beach access was blocked. Fortunately, the rescue was eventually successful and the visitor is recovering in hospital, but witnesses to the incident told CNS that emergency service personnel had to leap over a locked gate to get to the man, who had been pulled from the sea by a guest staying in the area but was in medical trouble.

The elderly visitor from Germany got into difficulties while he was snorkelling and was brought to shore by another visitor who saw that he was in trouble. The 911 call centre confirmed that they received an emergency call and dispatched a fire crew, police and medics to the location. However, witnesses reported seeing emergency personal leaping over a fence to get to the man and then get him into the ambulance.

Local property owner Morne Botes, who lives in Boggy Sands, has been raising concerns about beach access for years. He said that when he saw what was happening, he allowed the ambulance onto his land so they could cut onto the West Bay Road more quickly as they took the patient to hospital.

Government has said it plans to address the issue of dwindling beach accessibility, as an increasing number of landowners erect gates and fences in an attempt to block off legal public access along the island’s shoreline.

Speaking about Sunday’s incident, Tara Rivers, MLA for West Bay South, the constituency where this incident happened, said she hoped these issues could be resolved quickly.

“I have spoken publicly about my concerns regarding the issue of beach access, most recently during my debate on the 2018-2019 Budget in the LA,” she said Monday via email. Before that, she noted, she had liaised with the ministries of planning and lands about the issue in the hopes that it could be resolved as quickly as possible.

CNS also contacted Planning Minister Joey Hew but we did not receive a response.

Describing this weekend’s incident as a major wake-up call, Botes told CNS that local politicians were dragging their feet, and even though most of them have offered their support over this issue, there has been no action to actually do anything.

CNS confirmed with the hospital that the visitor is currently in the care of the Heath Service Authority.

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Category: Local News

Comments (69)

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  1. Mr. D says:

    I remember when they used to have laws all people of these Islands respected. We had a High water mark this was changed through our government to convenience the rich and wealthy and the same goes with the beach access that was just a 10 foot easement for emergency vehicles from both property owners, that don’t pay a tax on the land and public services. This is so sad to see that our beautiful Islands can continue to be sold out to the rich. May the lord bless our beloved Cayman Islands and Its laws. They will have to give back one day.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Where’s Tara? Where’s The Premier?
    Pretty silent out there…Money must be flowing again!! Guess they making sure they get their Christmas presents…

    these issues will never be resolved until we can stop the money train…

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    • Anonymous says:

      They are also silent on sexual abuse, rapes, burglaries and robberies.

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    • Anonymous says:

      They on Christmas holidays & galavanting! This ain’t important just like so many other things! They will say they will look at it next year…but that just talk! Betcha though– if they needed to jump on a plane and play celebrity they would be there in a minute! Again I say, we have no leadership! Didn’t have from 2013-2017 and still don’t!!

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  3. Anonymous says:

    this horrible incident on Boggy Sand should not be politicized, it’s a most unfortunate incident…if the gate that was locked was placed on a public right of way, then that’s an issue for sure and is easily addressed…if it was on a private right of way, then it’s not really an issue….no different than if someone was drowning in your pool and you’d locked the front door by mistake…..

    there are private beach access routes and public beach access…there is no such thing as a 100% private beach….but if a condo owner on SMB puts their private property on a demarked section of beach as ‘private’, you cannot use their furntiure but you can sit on their beach…however, why would you when there’s so much unarguable beach infront of it and to the sides unless it’s to win a silly argument

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  4. Scum bag realtors Assoc. says:

    I would like to thank Bababushka and his clone Alden the Great pretender for their contributions in the great prostitution of these islands and the degrading of our Caymanian heritage. I hope you both leave this world in total isolation and destitute and devoid of both dignity and self respect.Those who continue to sellout Cayman and our birth right need to be shunned and disrespected every single day from dawn until they fall to sleep in their drunken stupor .

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  5. Anonymous says:

    This is not news, you swim at your own risk.

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    • Anonymous says:

      And the whole point of the article was absolutely not about this. Unless you are inferring that anyone (including yourself) who ever gets into trouble anywhere should just be left to die? Please ensure you have a tag around your neck saying just that in bold lettering that everyone can read.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You seem like a nice person.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    I don’t get it. Did the ambulance drivers try to drive into the beach through someone’s property? And are beachfront properties legally required to let the public drive across them onto the beach?

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    • Anonymous says:

      No , they needed to use the beach access to reach the beach where the gentleman was…They could not get to the beach without climbing over the gate..

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Good luck to the happy new buyer of the most-expensive-ever-in-the-Cayman-Islands house on Boggy Sand Road. I hope his/her lawyer asked all the right pre-contract questions and got all the right answers, or they’re going to have an action from one p*ssed-off client on their hands.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    This is absolutely ridiculous. There are ungated properties on Boggy Sand Road and the EMS and any emergency vehicles are welcome to use them. Please explain exactly what people are complaining about beach access? Does Mr. Boates expect everyone who owns a property on the beach to allow their yards to be public??? There is plenty of access a cemetery beach and further north behind the gas station. What exactly is the problem?? The beach is public below the high water mark. There is access to the beach. It seems that Mr. Boates and others expect everyone to open their yards and homes to the public. Only for the ingrates to leave behind trash and destruction. As far as I’m concerned those types don’t deserve to be on the beach and the ones that do go to the beach without an issue. So move along quickly!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wait until you need an ambulance that cannot get to you because the Public Right of Way is blocked…

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      • Jotnar says:

        Where does it’ say a public right of way was blocked? It just doesn’t. The article says they accessed the beach by going over a locked gate, but nowhere does it suggest that was a designated beach access that was blocked. There may be a more general point about how frequent the access points are, or even that some of those may be blocked, but in this case you are leaping to an assumption that the property owner has done something wrong without any evidence whatsoever. For all you know the EMTs may have been entering private property because it was the nearest point of access. What do you expect that landowner to do – leave his property unlocked and unguarded just in case a tourist happens to get into difficulties off the beach?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Dam right

    • Anonymous says:

      Doesn’t matter how many paths there are, this is a Public Right of Way – by LAW – a law that applies to everyone, not just Caymanian.
      Our gutless government should get a team up there from Public Works, and clear the obstruction(s).
      If you or anyone else doesn’t want people passing their garden on the Right of Way – don’t buy a house adjacent to one of these paths, knowing what is going to happen. And if you didn’t know, that is your own fault.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I’d rather imagine that the ambulance should be able to access the beach at the public access point nearest the patient. And the ambulance crew should not be delayed by having to call for for fire officers so they can lift a patient over locked gates on a public right of way.

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    • Anonymous says:

      In America, we call people like you small minded, winging, babies.

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    • Anonymous says:

      No one wanted to walk over your property just to use the public beach access to get to this gentleman who was in distress..What if it was your father in distress there? how would you feel?

    • Anonymous says:

      If they are on 7 mile beach their yards (to the vegatation line) are public!

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    • Anonymous says:

      We will not move along quickly, we will linger and have our say. Maybe you should move along quickly. You sounds like the ingrate.

    • Anonymous says:

      Fortunately YOU don’t get to decide who can or cannot access the beach. It’s very likely (and from what I’ve been told it was) this was textbook impedement of public right of way. Seriously – get off your high horse or feel free to leave the island.

  9. West bay Premier says:

    See my comment at the bottom of the page addressed to Anonymous 7:17 pm .

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    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for the instruction WBP, you obviously feeling mightily important today, that you can tell us what to read.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Please remember that there are private beach accesses on Boggy Sand Road and elsewhere, which can be legally blocked by owners. I’m personally aware of the issue of the public beach accesses on Boggy Sand Road which are illegally blocked and have previously written to Minister Tara on the matter.

    No, I’m not Morne Botes but I support his efforts to resolve this matter and I’ve found him and his wife to be very genial and neighbourly.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Continuously block the driveway entrance of the Home/landowners that are closing off the beach so they can’t go in and out freely. Then watch how quickly it starts to get media attention.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Another aspect to this issue is the concern for theft and the lack of care some of the public demonstrate with their use of the beach. I have cleaned the most disgusting things off the beach, soiled nappies, used condoms, bottles, cans people using the beach as a dump. Some people use the access to scope out possible burglary possibilities as well. So don’t simply label people concerned with beach access as racists or xenophobic as there may be more to their concerns.
    It is an example of a few bad apples spoiling it for the rest.

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    • Anonymous says:

      With your logic in mind, I’m tired of cars zooming by on my road so me and the other owners are going to put up a gate that grants access to us alone.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I am not supporting their view to hurt the good people because of a few ignorant perhaps criminals and you raise another similar problem of some outrageous drivers. Off road motorbikes going down the road in traffic on 1 wheel. Citizens who are troubled by rude ignorant behavior is a problem that cannot be solved.
        You pick up a few soiled nappies and talk to me.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I think anyone buying a property on the beach (in Cayman) should understand from the outset that their “gardens” are public whether they like it or not. It’s just the way it is, so if you don’t like the thought, just buy inland and you can surround yourself with a wall and as many locked gates as you like.

  13. G Hux says:

    The government allowed this to happen because the well being of our people isn’t their responsibility. I wonder when people who support this tyranny will realise this.

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  14. Kman says:

    Absolutely shocking and this is what happens when you dictate to the rich that they own a $ million beach house. Do what was done in Malibu home owners who blocked access to the public and emergency vehicles, fine them $4 million this way they get the message.

    All beaches in Cayman are owned by the Crown, my dad, uncle and many others fought hard to get beach access rights. They were threaten on numerous occasions by arrogant and rude property owners. If this visitor had died, the government could be in a libel lawsuit so luckily he didn’t die and thanks to the EMS for a job well done and to Mr. Botes.

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  15. Dunz says:

    As it is illegal and erected without planning, can the people tear it down without being prosecuted. Especially as the legal system is more interested in car drivers and motorbike riders.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Strange. Most of the houses along the road are ungated (including the one off which this incident occurred). It is highly unlikely that any property owner would object to the emergency services accessing the beach through the property closest to the incident.

    Very regrettable if this is selective reportage.

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    • Anonymous says:

      There would be a hell of a lot more complaining and suing if anyone had trespassed on one of these properties..

  17. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like B.S. if the rules are you cannot block access then bulldoze it and any others that block an access point. I don’t see the problem.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Why did they imagine there was beach access back there?

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Penalties with financial fines must be put in place. Now!

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  20. Anonymous says:

    CIG don’t care! They prefer to pay lip service…when it suits them.

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    • Anonymous says:

      All talk by CIG. They will not go near this issue, much less address it. Upset a foreign investor?!! Never!!!!!

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  21. Anonymous says:

    What about the road that leads to several houses with elderly people living there next to the West Bay Post Office, no emergency vehicles (the emergency vehicles came to the location to see if their trucks could get by with no luck) nor the home gas truck can get to the house to deliver the tanks can get though, but it was OK for planning department to approve for the owners of the house in front to put a six foot fence that took half of the public road that has been used by everyone for the past seventy years.
    It’s been for the past four years in the hands of planning department, Agriculture, Environmental and lawyers to get the fence placed back to it’s original location and no one seems to care.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Nothing that a small “accident” can’t fix in a hurry.

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    • West bay Premier says:

      Do we see now how important these beach access are to be kept open ? Now that we are allowing CPA to set a precedent by letting Dart move two public beach access and combine them into one . Then CPA would have to do this for every other developers . Then pretty soon we wont have any emergency public beach access if we let CPA give them away .

      I think that it is urgent that Government step in and fix these public beach access permanently. How I heard the Attorney General speak about these beach access it sounds like Government is just involved enough to be liable.

      Let’s look at public beach access that the Government is involved with and are supposed to be public access and Government allowed the land owner to close/block that access , then the Emergency people couldn’t reach the victim and the victim died because of that access been blocked . Who would be responsible for the death ? I think Government and the Land owner .

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      • Anoymous says:

        The consolidation of the beach accesses near the tunnel is not “precedent setting”. The CPA has allowed similar moving and consolidation of beach access rights of way for years.

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        • Anonymous says:

          But consolidation or any interference with public rights of way are illegal. Just because there’s precedent doesn’t make it legitimate. It just means there’s more than one illegal act committed by government, acting on the poor advice if it’s chief lawyer. A public right of way is an indefeasible public right. Check it out.

      • Anonymous says:

        There are a lot of opinions here. As a long time resident of Boggy Sand Road (land side!) here are my two pennies worth.
        The public beach access at the center of Boggy Sand Road is not sufficiently sign posted and the path is not well maintained. The government could easily improve this facility.
        There is no access at the north en of the road to West Bay public beach at the sea wall i.e. near Heritage kitchen. The government could provide this given some building cost.
        The access to the south i.e. Cemetery is fine but could probably do with improved parking.
        Rather than people complaining about what they don’t have cant we work on improving what we do?

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    • West bay Premier says:

      Anonymous 7:17pm . I completely agree with your comment and the words and no one seems to care is a big problem including the Government .

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      • Anonymous says:

        But West Bay Premier you had promised that you would do something about it???? When is that going to happen????

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        • West bay Premier says:

          Anonymous 8:42 am , when did I promise that I was going to do something about it ? Have you ever heard of the saying, you can lead the horse to well but you can’t make it drink . That’s what i am doing .

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    • Anonymous says:

      You expect for ten grand a month that she will stick up for you? For the rest of her life with pension? Very sad.

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    • West bay Premier says:

      Anonymous 7:17 pm . I think that you have pointed out something that is suppose to be in the Planning Laws of the Cayman Islands . That is before a house can be inhabited by human it must have adequate access for Emergency vehicles.

      I believe that if you verified that and went to all the districts representatives with say 10 other witness and demand for those houses to have emergency vehicles access . If necessary go to News Media and TV Media with your story . You will be thought of as a HERO in the community and a threat to them Politicians . That’s how you make those thoughtless Politicians CARE about the people and do their jobs .

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    • :] says:

      Before people start assuming please get your facts correct it is not a public road its a private property with a twelve foot right away leading access to a particular property, so please get your facts right, if you would like more info you can go to the planning dept. and find out exactly how it goes. The property which is being given access has themselves blocked with their own fence. Seventy years? For so long these people were given passage over private property? They had better been thankful it lasted so long.

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      • West bay Premier says:

        10:29 am I am not talking about Boggy sand , I am talking about by the Post Office in West bay . But I still think that the Law and that what Anonymous 7:17 pm should do .

      • Anonymous says:

        :] I think you need to get your facts straight. You can not block emergency vehicles that need to get to people who are in need of help. Only time will tell.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Give the access blockers jail time. See if its worth it then

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