May 4, 2007
No private beaches in SVG – ­ Minister

MINISTER OF TOURISM Glen Beache has made it clear that all beaches in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are public facilities, and access should be freely given to persons wishing to use them.

Beache made this statement on Monday, at a press conference announcing two projects to be completed this year through funding from the European Union.{{more}}

On the beach issue, the minister said that it had come to his attention that an admission fee had been charged to persons attending a function at the Mount Wynne beach on the Leeward side of the island over the last weekend. Beache said this was not permissible as all beaches in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are public, and users should not have to pay to get access.

He said public access should be provided to beaches which border private lands.

Beache also indicated that he has directed the National Parks Authority, which is responsible for beaches, to formulate a policy which would guide the rental of beaches for events, so that it could be taken to Cabinet.

He also indicated that that the Ministry of Tourism had received $18 million from the European Union as part of its sustainable tourism development project for work on about 20 tourism sites around St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The minister said that first two sites to be worked on are the Falls of Baleine and the Botanic Gardens.

He indicated that a lot of work needs to be done at these two sites which he hopes will be completed by the end of this year, and that a user fee yet to be determined will be charged for access to these sites.

Original plans to have the Argyle area designated a tourist site have been scrapped because of the international airport project, and the minister is hoping to have the funds for Argyle allocated to another area.