The promised happy ending for beach chair vendor at Bathsheba, St Joseph, who was forced by the National Conservation Commission (NCC) to relocate his business, has failed to materialise.
This morning Chawn Morris told Barbados TODAY that even though he has been relocated to the high traffic Batts Rock Beach, the viability of his business would require a further injection of capital, in addition to the $15,000 already lost in the Bathsheba enterprise.
“It seems like the NCC just wants to give you permission to put the chairs on the beach then on evenings you must pick them up and take them home. This does not make any sense whatsoever because it is impossible for me to take my chairs and equipment home every day. I need a place to store them,” said Morris, who revealed that the business is now on hold until he is able to afford a mobile storage facility, which could be transported to his home on evenings.
“I have permission for Batts Rock, but the truth is that I can’t really do anything with it right now until I buy a trailer or something that I can take home after work,” he explained. “Right now, I already lost a lot down Bathsheba and I have to wait until I get more money to see if I could try something down there [Batts Rock Beach],” he said.
Last month, Minister of the Environment and National Beautification, Trevor Prescod, who holds responsibility for the NCC, intervened into the matter and promised then that Morris will have the opportunity to ply his trade in a more “lucrative’ spot, a solution he said would be to the mutual benefit of all involved.
“I can give the assurance that this thing will be settled to the satisfaction of all parties, including the young man. I will also say that the transition will take place without any additional expense to him [Morris].”
The Minister explained that while Morris was given permission to operate the chair rental business, he was not allowed to put up any structures on the beach. He noted that only the Town and Country Planning office can give permission to build such structures.
When the story broke last month, critics of the NCC’s action declared the issue as an example of yet another proverbial poor black man being oppressed. This morning Morris remains convinced that the odds were stacked against him.
“It seems like only one set of people are supposed to make a living in Barbados. Some people can get away with what they like but the minute that somebody like me tries to make an honest dollar, there is some sort of problem,” he claimed. He had earlier said that the pressure to move his fledgling business first began when some frequent beach users deemed the project a distraction from the natural aesthetics of the beach, which has become famous for its surfing.