By: Precious Mills
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts– Although the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis was spared major damages following the passage of Hurricane Irma, one business operator at Cockleshell Bay located at the South East Peninsula is concerned and disappointed that a ‘manmade hurricane’ could destroy his bar.
Owner of Going On The Beach (a beach equipment rental business for chairs and umbrellas) Dwight ‘Gong’ Molyneaux spoke with this media house describing his controversial situation involving a governmental request to stop the construction of the bar which so far has costed him over EC$8,000.
The Development Control and Planning Board has instructed him to stop construction immediately and return the area to its previous condition by next Friday (22nd September) in observation of a 28-day compliance notice.
In May 2017, a business and occupations licence was issued to Molyneaux and his twin brother Delano.
“I have a problem with a beach bar on Cockleshell where the government has given me a license to operate a business. I went to the building board several times about it and got no answers and now I already started to build the bar on the beach and hurricane Irma came and she didn’t blow it down, and God gave our country a chance from that hurricane and here comes man wanting to break down my bar.”
According to him: “The building board shouldn’t be about breaking down people’s things but to help people do it in the right way because I went there several times and they refused to deal with me.”
As to why he started construction although he was not officially given the go ahead from the Board , Molyneaux revealed that he did so after speaking with the Minister of Public Infrastructure, Ian ‘Patches’ Liburd , who happens to be his parliamentary representative.
“I went to the Minister Mr. Ian Liburd and he saw the licence and he told me to go ahead. That’s why I took the brave move and do what I have to do and the building board came in and is making noise with me.”
As understood, Minister Liburd told that he did not see any hindrance because automatically Molyneaux must build something to store the equipment he uses.
On Tuesday 12th September, this media house visited Cockleshell Bay where the bar is under construction.
This reporter was shown some stacked up beach chairs in a bushy area as well as a few umbrellas that were covered up using a beach chair.
Informing that his occupation is called a “Professional Beach Man”, Molyneaux explained that he has been operating on that beach for the last three years.
“That’s my job. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid so I need to get back into my profession and do something for good for my island.”
He then pointed out that he is now seeking to conduct his business properly by setting up a bar so as to accommodate the storage of his over 100 chairs and umbrellas collectively.
Molyneaux is hoping that one day, he will be able to further cater to his customers who always ask if he sells drinks as part of his business as well.
A compliance notice addressed to him, dated 25th August 2017, from the Director of Physical Planning, Randolph Edmead, stated that there has been a breach of the 2009 Development Control and Planning Act, asking him to stop all construction and clear that land space within 28 days or else actions will be taken to address the issue.
“With reference to the construction activity at Cockleshell Bay, South East Peninsula, please be advised that there is a breach of Development Control and Planning Act 2009, in relation to Section 20 (1) and 55 (1) that is to say,
20(1): No person shall carry out any development of land except under and in accordance with the terms of a development permission granted in that behalf prior to the commencement of such development, on an application made in accordance with the regulations made under section 86, unless the development is permitted development authorized under subsection (2).
55 (1): No person shall construct or commence the construction of a building except in accordance with the specifications of a building permit issued by the board in respect of that building prior to the commencement of construction.
“You are required to STOP ALL construction immediately and return the area to its previous condition prior to commencing the activity. Please note that you are given 28 Days to comply with this notice. This compliance Notice shall take effect on the 25th of August 2017 and continues until 22nd September 2017,” the letter read.
It ended by indicating: “Be advised that, the Board is empowered to enter upon the land and effect the changes required and take steps to enforce this Compliance Notice.”
Molyneaux is asking the Board to be compassionate and try to help him resolve the matter.
“I don’t want them to break down my bar. I want them to be lenient with me and let me do it in the right channel and help me out because it’s not fair to me because other people are on the beaches on St.Kitts operating as well; people from Mexico, Santo Domingo and other parts of the world. I find that it’s hard for me to spend over EC$8,000 to break down a bar, buy all my beach chairs and here comes the building board also playing (hurricane) Irma to break it down. I am from here so I need to be helped in going through the right channels to get this ease and this relief.”
He continued: “Do not just tell me to break down something; you should help solve the problem for me because this is a problem for me because it’s my livelihood. They can’t just destroy people’s livelihood just like that and we say that we are in a Christian community; God has given us a break from the hurricane and I want the building board to give me a break and a relief- just like God has given the country of St.Kitts a break- with my beach bar.”
“I can’t knock down my bar when the (tourist) season is just four weeks from now in October, Molyneaux added.
He is of the opinion that Cockleshell Bay needs more facilities in order to satisfy the tourism industry on the island.
Additionally, he disclosed that with the hurricane damages to the other Caribbean countries, St.Kitts and Nevis should be prepared at the possibility of higher numbers in tourist arrivals starting this year.