Recent complaints about the Batts Rock bar, La Cabane, have been brought to the attention of Minister of the Environment and National Beautification, Trevor Prescod, who has pledged to investigate.
Prescod was responding to a recent petition made by some residents in the area, who described the noise and location of the beach bar as an annoyance that was preventing free access to public facilities.
The Minister who has responsibility for the National Conservation Commission told Barbados TODAY that he had no reason to believe the bar was operating illegally, but stressed that authorities would take the necessary steps to ensure that the interests of residents and the general public are served and that the country’s laws are be observed.
“The only thing that would cause us to have to review this business is if the person who occupies the land is in breach of any arrangement or if they block off the beach. I am not fully aware of any blocking of the footpath on the beach. I am however hearing people saying that they are uncertain whether they can pass through.
“Certainly if I go there as an ordinary citizen, nobody can stop me from walking through it. If I have evidence that they blocked people from walking through it, then I have reason to be concerned. But if people just feel like they can’t walk through, then that is difficult.
“The way my mind is set, I would walk through there without any fear and I would like Barbadians to have the courage to walk through it if they need to walk through it,” he said, while stressing that he would make it his business to investigate the situation further.
“Right now I don’t know who manages it, I don’t know the name of a barman, I can’t tell you where people put the chairs,” added Prescod.
Prescod speculated that the space was being rented to the restaurant owners by the NCC and revealed that in addition to approval from Town and Country Planning, they would need the requisite certification from the Ministry of Health.
Minister Prescod also responded to comparisons made by some members of the public between the proprietor of La Cabane and beach chair vendor, Chawn Morris, whose business was moved from Bathsheba following complaints by residents. Prescod however argued that Morris had gone beyond the permission granted to him by the NCC.
“When you begin to do things of that nature, then it is not in the hands of the NCC anymore, it is in the hands of the Town Planning department and if you put down a concrete base and you build steps and other wooden structures then that is a different story.
“But I reasoned with the young gentleman and his purpose for being there is not to be engaged in contention, to provide juicy information for public dialogue or to get engaged in political exchanges. He was there to make money and what I will do for him is to provide him with an alternative location. Some people believe that Bathsheba should be left in its raw form and they wanted to be able to see all of the dynamics of the natural environment and that beach should be reserved for that specific purpose. That was a view being expressed by a group of persons. Some began to be critical of the structures erected. So I decided to put him someplace where I believe the demand will be satisfied,” he said.