The beach is open, but it’s in no position to accommodate business, according to vendors along the recently reopened stretch at Worthing, Christ Church.
When Barbados TODAY visited the area, large outfall pipes lined the once popular beach and the air was filled with the putrid smell of garbage. The owners of small kiosks, as well as beach chair vendors whose businesses were once well patronized, continued to be avoided by tourists and locals alike.
While they were happy that the beach has reopened, the frustrated vendors pleaded with authorities to help them return the area to a state of normalcy, following months of closure.
“I would like them to finish the job, that’s all I want,” said Rodney Marshall, a beach chair vendor of over 30 years.
“With all the pipes here, I can’t work. If old people come here, they can’t step over those pipes. The bricks are still here. They should never have opened the beach with all of the pipes on the beach like this.”
With his livelihood still on the rocks, Marshall added, “right now I can’t pay my bills”.
“I am not only vexed because they said the beach is open, I am also upset because the beach is so dirty. At least clean up the beach first or get some people together and clean up the beach,” he said.
Amid mounting pressure from tourism stakeholders and the Member of Parliament for the area, Ralph Thorne, the Ministry of Energy and Water Resource Management announced on Christmas Eve that the beach would reopen to the public.
Another man who washed cars before the beach became inaccessible indicated that prior to the build-up of sewage in the nearby Graeme Hall swamp, the Worthing Beach was “a money spot”, where thousands of tourists would visit each year. He was disappointed with its prolonged closure.
Meanwhile, Ann Applewaite, the owner of a kiosk that was once swarming with tourists, called for an ease from the National Conservation Commission (NCC) on the monthly rent charged for the use of the booths.
“It is not only fair, but it is principle . . . . An ease would make us feel like it was worth it to be here day in and day out, even when business was not coming in,” she contended.
“It is a lovely beach, very beautiful. Before they had the [no bathing] signs on the beach, business here was very good . . . . However, the situation with the sewage is causing a problem. Government, I believe, is doing the best it can to work it out, but in doing that the problem still remains . . . because they’re trying to sort the sewage out and while doing that, the beach is closed off.
“Where does that leave us? We still have bills to pay, but if the business is not coming, then how can you get the rent to pay?” asked the frustrated vendor.
Applewaite also renewed calls for government to continue pursuing a permanent fix to the longstanding sewage issues, even as she remained hopeful that the reopening of the beach would bring improved fortunes.
“I am very hopeful, because it was supposed to be reopened for a little while now. I think that it could generate so much more business, not just for me, but for everyone else in the area,” she added.