Comissiong: Don’t let Browne’s Beach become alien zone
Social and political activist David Comissiong is demanding that the application for Town and Country Planning permission to construct the proposed 15 story Hyatt Hotel at Browne’s Beach, Lower Bay Street, the City be subjected to “a most rigorous and comprehensive” environmental impact and assessment procedure, including a social impact assessment study.
In an August 4, 2016 letter to Chief Town Planner Mark Cummins, Comissiong also requested that the people of the neigbouring communities be consulted in Town Hall meetings and through relevant sociological surveys and assessments before permission is granted for the controversial project.
“When I refer to the neighbouring communities I am referring to virtually all of the residential communities of the City of Bridgetown and southern St Michael. I am also requesting that consultations be held with the churches and the various community groups and social clubs of the affected communities as well as with the several environmental and heritage preservation organization of Barbados,” the head of the Clement Payne Movement wrote.
Comissiong argued that construction of the hotel would “destroy the character of Browne’s Beach” and serve to deprive Barbadians of unfettered use of one of the few remaining beaches at which they felt comfortable.
“Browne’s Beach is the central and extensive beach embedded in Carlisle Bay, and is an historic beach that is of tremendous value and service to the people of Barbados in general, and to the poor predominantly black working-class Barbadians who inhabit the many over-crowded, and in some cases slum-like, neighbouring communities of the City of Bridgetown and the greater St. Michael area. Indeed, for many impoverished and over-stressed working-class Barbadians Browne’s Beach is their place of refuge and relaxation, their natural spa and health clinic,” the attorney-at-law said in the letter.
“The construction of a massive 15 storey Hyatt hotel in Carlisle Bay (abutting Browne’s Beach) – to say nothing of the other 4 or 5 ‘foreign brand-name hotels’ that are being planned for Browne’s Beach – is certain to destroy the very character of Browne’s Beach and to turn it into an ‘alien zone’ in which the ordinary Barbadian no longer feels comfortable or welcome. In other words, we will run the risk of Browne’s Beach being transformed into one of your typical West Coast beaches – beaches that native Barbadians feel no longer belong to them.”
He sought an explanation from developer Mark Maloney of Visions Development Inc in relation to his announcement that the project would be starting in two months time even though it was clear that the consultation process was yet to be completed and that planning permission was yet to be secured.