By FAY SIMMONS
A GOVERNMENT minister yesterday said that stalls on Montagu Beach that have been the centre of concern for residents are not authorised - despite the assertions of the managing director of the Bahamas Public Parks and Beaches Authority (BPPBA) to the contrary.
The issue was raised in Parliament yesterday by St Anne’s MP Adrian White - which brought agreement with Mr White from National Security Minister Wayne Munroe.
Mr White had initially raised the issue on behalf of constituents, and said he was assured the structures would be removed.
He said: “The approval of vendors without consultation with members of the public leaves a bad taste in Bahamians’ mouths. The Minister of National Security and Free Town MP previously responded in the House of Assembly, when the status was raised by the MP for St Anne’s, that the third and most recent structure was ordered to be removed by November 2022.”
He raised the matter again yesterday, and was supported by Mr Munroe, who said that the stalls should be removed.
Mr Munroe said: “This is actually a matter on which the member for St Anne’s and I am in agreement.”
Mr Munroe went on to indicate that the stalls are not authorised.
He said: “I’ve communicated with the Ministry of Works, a number of persons have, the last communication I have doesn’t seem to indicate that it’s approved.”
He also quoted from an email dated January 3 on the matter which indicated that the structures were illegal and would be removed.
He said “I’ve directed the building controls section to take all legal steps to have the situation resolved because of their responsibility for the management of public beaches and parks and drawing the matter to the attention of the chairman of the authority, Mr McKell Bonaby MP, and collectively we’ll resolve to remove the illegal structure.”
However, The Tribune had previously made inquiries to the BPPBA, and had been told that the vendor stalls in the area were licensed.
Before yesterday’s discussion in the House of Assembly by Members of Parliament, BPPBA managing director David Barry told The Tribune that an inspection was carried out on Thursday last week and all current vendors on Montagu Beach had a licence.
Mr White told The Tribune of his disapproval of the BPPBA issuing vendor licences without consulting the public.
He went on to question the activities allowed on Montagu Beach, including the environmental footprint of one structure that has expanded since it was initially constructed.
He said: “What remains unknown is the plan that the Public Parks and Beaches Authority is following. Is all of Montague Park now open to vending under this New Day administration? What area or areas have been designated and zoned for commercial use? “What is the footprint each existing vendor is approved to occupy and what are the terms of their licenses, hours of operation, health and safety requirements, music limits?”
He continued: “The third and most recent structure creeps closer and closer to the water as time passes. Have previously dedicated marked parking spaces been dedicated to its operation, will the access road be next, then what, the beach too?”
The Tribune also spoke to a number of residents who expressed concern over whether vendors at Montagu Beach had permits, as well as noting the increased amount of garbage and food debris, which has led to an apparent rise in the number of rats in the area.
ThisIsOurs 3 days, 23 hours ago
That one structure has been there since the last administration. The other started construction months ago. Junkanoo beach also sprawled into a giant mess in the last administration. Were they blind between 2017 and 2021? Anyway the positive is both sides are in agreement to get rid of the budding shanty town on Montagu, they need to do something about the mess at the bridge and arawak cay next
hrysippus 3 days, 22 hours ago
When I applied for my last business license it was not given until I had had the business premises inspected and passed by the Ministry of Works. To pass I needed employee bathrooms and a dumpster (skip) located on the site. How did these businesses get their licenses as I have not seen a dumpster outside each one? Is this corruption in action, or one law for most of us and another set of rules for the politically connected? Sigh...
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