MLA persuaded to drop beach access motion

| 09/07/2020 | 38 Comments
Cayman News Service, Beach access on the Cayman Islands

(CNS): The minister responsible for lands has convinced MLA Anthony Eden that the Public Lands Commission is working to protect beach access rights and his private member’s motion on the matter is not needed. Despite the ongoing court battle over the government’s failure to register access rights and the day to day challenge for locals to get onto the beach, Julianna O’Connor-Connolly said that draft regulations were coming to address the issue.

The veteran opposition member for Savannah agreed to withdraw the motion during a Legislative Assembly meeting last week, after O’Connor-Connolly told members that the commission had been working on, and had now completed, draft regulations dealing with rights of way.

This was in response to a motion brought by Eden calling for criminal punishment via the Penal Code or Prescription Law for those landowners who block historic access points and rights of way, especially across beaches.

O’Connor-Connolly said the regulations were waiting for ministerial review, and that would happen “within the next week or two”. She said the land commission had the full support of government as it went about its work addressing the concerns about access rights.

The matter of beach access is a major public concern, as Caymanians have watched as their rights to access the beach have been eroded in recent years. Despite constant claims by government ministers that they are committed to protecting these rights, in reality little appears to be happening to actually enforce them.

As he agreed to withdraw the motion, based on the minister’s promises and Attorney General Samuel Bulgin’s assertion that it is already a criminal offence under the Public Lands Law to block access points, Eden called for more public education on how access is being protected and what they can do when they are refused access or find access points blocked.

He said he did not understand why, if there were mechanisms in place and the government was said to be working to protect access rights, there appeared to be “so much confusion” and stories coming from different sides about the problem.

He urged “the powers that be to do something about it” because it was clear something was wrong. Nevertheless, he was persuaded by government not to pursue his motion and agreed to allow the lands commission to continue its work.

Deputy Leader of the Opposition Alva Suckoo, who had seconded Eden’s motion, had noted how local citizens have taken the fight to the courts. He said it wasn’t fair that private citizens had to sue the courts in an effort to police rights of way.

“Government’s responsibility is to ensure that these rights of way are protected and that the law is enforced,” he said.

Several beach access cases are moving through the courts and four ladies from West Bay, including one who is a member of the lands commission, are still fighting government to get the registrar to register certain beach access points and various easements before they are lost.

But despite claims in the LA by the minister that government was committed to the protection of rights, it is still fighting the women, who have also had major problems securing legal aid for the fight.

Meanwhile, the same group of activist have added another issue to the beach access claims. They are now calling for the Central Planning Authority to ensure that scenic shoreline land is preserved to protect views, in accordance with the planning regulations.

In a letter to the planning department and government leaders, the Concerned Citizens group said that views are being destroyed through rapid development and important scenic assets need to be identified and protected.

With government failing to protect these views, the activists are calling on the public to demand action and for the establishment of a scenic list, registered by legislation and gazetted, to preserve and protect the islands’ scenic roads and promote tourism and economic development.

Scenic beach views, like those from Mary Mollie Hydes Road (the only place where the entire Seven Mile Beach can be viewed), Smith Barcadere, Governor’s Beach and Barkers, were identified by the group as the type of views that need protection.

“The only way to permanently protect scenic views from development is to purchase parcels of lands or future easements for the benefit of the public, which must state to be held for the benefit in trust of the public,” the group said in the letter. “We should not forget that these islands were known for their wonderful natural beauty and this should not be totally sacrificed for the sake of concrete buildings,” they add.

See the Concerned Citizens’ letter about scenic views in the CNS Library.

See the debate about beach access in the LA on CIGTV below:


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Category: Local News

Comments (38)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Why isn’t the NRA expected to keep the public paths open and clear? Putting it on the landowner means you get the minimum effort at most. They thought they were smart sticking the landowner with the responsibility. Wrong as usual.

    • Anonymous says:

      CIG just clear the various access routes please.

      If the legislation really exists just do it!

      Tony please bring another Motion requesting that CIG does it’s job

  2. Michel Lemay says:

    I would like to see the Beach access dealt with as a priority and enforce it to the fullest of the law. It keeps turning up and were told there aware but no enforcement. This is summer and it would be nice to enjoy them so please deal with it as our beach access is becoming limited.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I wouldn’t say beach access is limited…just more of a hassle than it properly should be. Those blocking access should be fined, but the CPA won’t do it. The RCIPS won’t do it either. These are symptoms of wider corruption and maladministration that should be priorities far ahead of beach access.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Once again – another glaring example of selective enforcement and selective prosecution!

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  4. ANONYMOUS says:

    Banana Republic here we come. A classic case of “ Money talks – Bullshit walks “ . The Money is all those with a vested interest in property development, especially waterfront – the Bullshit is an MLA who has not got the cojones to stand up to the pressure the “Money” put on him through his fellow MLAs, and runs away from his responsibility to those who elected him – he is totally spineless.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    If nothing else this scuttled motion has brought the inadequacy of illustrious past Ministers responsible for portfolios including lands and roads to the forefront. They have all failed us on this very important anomaly over the years.

    My questions are why has this government and past governments deliberately ignore this problem?
    Why is it left up to private citizens like the ladies from West Bay who like many of us ,are living from one yearly pension payout to the next, to fund these law suits through the courts?

    Why did the government appoint persons to the land review/reform commission who don’t know anything about where the beach accesses are / were? . Why did they appoint one of the said ladies from west bay to the land review commission but then refuse to give her legal aid to get this issue through the courts? It is obvious that they have no intention of fixing this issue and they are just kicking the cans down the road.

    Now they have the audacity to jump up in the LA to explain all the reason why the motion should be withdrawn but made no commitment to enforce the current law.? This problem will never be solved until a “Caymanian” with as much money as the perpetrators can step forward and fund the court cases. WAITING WITH BATED BREATH!

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  6. Anonymous says:

    So Eden caved in after having his arm bent by the MLA’s who didn’t want to upset there dollar worth cronies.
    The matters going through the court should now be taken over by the DPP and not pursued by private funding.
    And what has that ex RCIPS Insp done since overseeing all this. Sweet f~{k all
    Get some inmates from HMP the clear the access

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Such a bore to have people traipse past one’s place all day and night when there are plenty of other beach access points not near private homes. So many of these beach goers are drunk or high. And with rampant criminality it is a break in risk too. Inane pandering to the jealous mob.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It’s the gay beach walkers that concern me the most. I’ve heard airborne transmission is how it spreads.

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    • Anonymous says:

      God knows who let you in, or how you were let in. Beach access and use are sacred to Caymanians. You plainly refuse to accept that. Leave, just leave.

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      • DAN says:

        SO WHY DID YOU SELL ALL THE BEACHES TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER.

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        • Anonymous says:

          We sold the land Dan. We never sold exclusive right to access or enjoy the beaches, and we will not allow it to be taken from us.

          You are confusing land ownership and access rights. They are different things.

        • Anonymous says:

          Property rights boundaries end well above the high water mark, and the beaches remain crown land, with public right of way. None of them have been sold, all evidence to the contrary.

    • Anonymous says:

      Tell me where you live and I will invite all my friends to have a party outside your house.

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    • Anonymous says:

      More like the broken system with its non enforcement of the law is allowing unscrupulous people like you to exploit the situation. I suggest you wall yourself in but don’t touch the access. That should cure your unfounded paranoia for a while.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Your very self righteous aren’t you.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You whiners need to shut up because if we do not have these rich investors here we will run out of money. No Caymanians use the beach anyway and all this trouble is started by the transplanted foreigners who come here spewing all there bright ideas and want to change our wonderful island. Go back to where you came from trouble maker. Bless you Honorable Ju Ju as you know how to get things done right!.

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      • Anonymous says:

        “ Honorable “ Ju Ju – anybody remember “tarmacgate” in the Brav.

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        • Anonymous says:

          That’s because she knows how to take care of her constituents. Just shut up trouble maker foreign. Go back and fix up your own country first!

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          • Anonymous says:

            This is my country, I have come back to it, and fixing it will require politicians guilty of abusing their office and corruption, to be arrested and prosecuted.

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    • Anonymous says:

      But you knew about the public access when you bought it so….

      I think you are a faker and a troll anyway.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    If it is already a crime, why are areas of beach still roped off well below the vegetation line? Why are people still being prohibited from peaceably enjoying areas of the beach, and being forced to walk in water because of illegal barriers on the beach?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Not a crime yet, but corrupt enabling Bill is on the way!

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      • Anonymous says:

        But didn’t the AG say it was already a crime?

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        • Anonymous says:

          It would seem it’s just a theoretical civil fine, if there were an agency willing to enforce any of our regulatory “suggestions”.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes he did, at least I believe that was what I gathered from his rambling mumbo- jumbo.

          • Anonymous says:

            So WTF is going on? Are they waiting for the illegal blocking’s and cordoning off of sections of beach to become legal through the passage of time.

            • Anonymous says:

              Except the passage of time might work against us. Next thing you will hear is ” well they have been living and enjoying the path that should be our access path for a long time so it is now their path”

              • Anonymous says:

                Exactly! Many of the politicians are not lawyers and do not understand the risks that are being caused by the ongoing lack of any enforcement!!!!

                • Anonymous says:

                  The Minister is a lawyer, as well as the Premier and the AG. So go figure.

                  • Anonymous says:

                    Someone should be raising all hell. They may well be overseeing the loss of our rights through their possibly intentional inaction.

    • Anonymous says:

      No one enforces any laws in Cayman. Except anti-ganja apparently. Sad state of affairs.

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