No such thing as a ‘private’ beach, Symister says, noting that all residents have the ‘right’ to access, according to 1999 law

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

No such thing as a ‘private’ beach, Symister says, noting that all residents have the ‘right’ to access, according to 1999 law

As the debate rages on about the lack of public access to the Nation’s beaches, attorney Leon Chaku Symister says that a radical change – demonstrated by people taking a stand – is required to end this worrisome issue.

As he recalls recent reports that a chain had been put in place to restrict access to the beach at Dickenson Bay, Symister says an administration was not put in place to encouragehomeowners and hoteliers to limit citizens’ access to beaches.

What is taking place under the Browne Administration was not tolerated under the United Progressive Party (UPP) Government, Symister says, and this was demonstrated when a former minister removed the barrier from a private property that was preventinglocals from accessing a beach.

Symister, the UPP spokesperson on legal matters, says the people must take stronger action to ensure their rights are not trampled on and to preserve their right to beach access.He notes, too, that the designation of “private beachfront properties” does not override locals’ right of access to the beach.

Citizens and residents of this country have the “right” of access, the attorney declares, since there is no such thing as a private beach from which the public can be excluded.

That right of access is contained in the Development Control Act of 1999, he notes.

Meanwhile, Symister says that every police officer should understand that no land-owner can prevent the public frombaccessing the beach.

Further, he says that the alternative – changing the route by which people access the beach – is wrong. A prior access point cannot now be turned into a foot path, he says, and calls the idea “nonsensical.”