Dispute between Boatyard, jet ski operators could go legal route, FTC 

The ongoing dispute between the owner of The Boatyard Beach Club and licensed jet ski operators at Browne’s Beach appears to be headed to the law courts and the Fair Trading Commission (FTC).  David Comissiong, who is one of two attorneys now representing the operators, has signaled his intention to go that route, accusing owner of the facility, Sean Defreitas, of mounting a campaign of commercial intimidation.

Last month a sign was posted at The Boatyard, stating that “due to the unruly behaviour and refusal of some of the jet ski and watersports operators to conduct their business in an orderly and professional manner while on this beach, as well as to ensure that your stay with us is as hassle free as possible, we regret to inform our customers that one of the conditions of entry into the Boatyard will be that once you choose to use our facilities and wear the required wristband, you also agree not to do business with these operators while doing so”.

Management added, however, that patrons were free to conduct business with the operators before entering the facility or after leaving.

Comissiong said management’s actions had hurt the pockets of the estimated 15 local operators, cutting into their earnings by as much as 90 per cent in some cases.

David Comissiong
David Comissiong

“We will be pursuing all aspects of this matter. We will be looking at aspects relating to defamation. We will also be looking at breaches of the Fair Competition Act and we will be looking at a role for the Fair Trading Commission in investigating this situation and intervening in it,” Comissiong told Barbados TODAY.

He is working with attorney Robert Bobby Clarke as well as Member of Parliament Trevor Prescod and black rights activist Mohammed Nasser, all of whom have met with the operators.

“We are very concerned because when you make statements describing people as unruly, disorderly, unprofessional and as posing a danger to the safety of tourists, you are stepping on very, very shaky ground. There is something in Barbados called The Defamation Act where if you slander, libel or defame a person, particularly in relation to their trade or business, you have committed a very serious civil wrong,” Comissiong pointed out.

He added that under the Fair Competition Act, “there are certain actions that a person may not do in attacking and compromising the business or trade prospects of other business people”.

“The legislation indicates that complaints can be made to the Fair Trading Commission, an investigation can take place and penalties can be imposed.”

Comissiong also questioned the continued silence of Government ministers and umbrella groupings on the matter.

“Have we become so neglectful of our social culture in Barbados that an organization like the Chamber of Commerce, for example, has not stepped in and spoken to Mr Defreitas and explained to him why what he’s doing is so wrong? An organization like the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association hasn’t stepped in and spoken to him and explained to him why in a country with the history that Barbados has had of the social exclusion of black people, the oppression of black people that you cannot be behaving in that manner? . . . No Government minister has stepped in and had a word with Mr Defreitas?”

Kevin Joseph, a jet ski operator of 12 years, suggested that the situation had become very tense, and said he has had to find ways of working around it.

“I have to tell the people to walk up the beach, put them on [the jet ski] up the beach and then walk back down to the beach after so it’s just a matter of knowing how to work around the system with him (Defreitas) because nobody ain’t coming and tell him what he’s doing is wrong,” he said in frustration.

“Guys got bills to pay. Insurance is $5,000 a jet ski, a boat goes up to $2,400. It’s [a lot of] money. The insurance [company] wants the full amount of money and when you got to look for $5,000 to pay for insurance and a guy come and stop you from making $10 or $20 a day what next are you supposed to do?”

Defreitas could not be reached for comment.

13 Responses to COURTYARD

  1. Steve Allen
    Steve Allen February 13, 2015 at 1:01 am

    That’s good take his ass to court David and Bobby Clarke will take care of it for you brothers let no white man in Barbados try to degrade your honest living as here in North America the club and owner/manager is know as a racist. Take care brothers and all the luck with the racist M/F.

  2. James Austin Bynoe
    James Austin Bynoe February 13, 2015 at 1:25 am

    Clearly they are in the wrong. Rather than taking the crabs in a barrel approach to working together on the beach … Boatyard management needs to understand that interacting with local vendors is part of the bajan visitor experience and makes us all look bad as a nation when such signs are posted.

  3. Sharon Woolley
    Sharon Woolley February 13, 2015 at 5:10 am

    Instead of working together, the Boatyard are under the impression they can tell everyone what to do, yes at times as a tourist you get a bit fed up with people asking if you want a jet ski, but I have always been met with a smile and enjoy your day, when I have said no thank you, the guys are trying to make a living and 1,000’s of tourists go to the beach so they can do the jet ski ride, it’s also a great way of seeing part of the island from a different view ! times are hard and the cost of a jet ski must be very high, all the Boatyard are doing now is alienating everyone, the beaches are public for everyone, the choice is yours if you want to spend hard earned cash in a place that dictates what you do

  4. Sarah Pomeranz Layne
    Sarah Pomeranz Layne February 13, 2015 at 5:33 am

    Micheal Young (i assume its Michael or aome other sane person) has but up a roped off swimming area just in front of Finally Michaels and Carlisle Bay Centre) just up from the Boatyard. While i like being able to swim out further, I experienced at least 1 jet Ski and 1 boat with the tube on the back not caring 2 hoots about the swimmers in the area this past Sunday. The boat driver was a bit more conscious but the Jet ski guy went whizzing right past the furthest part of the rope, in an area we usually swim in. And when tourist or whomever are driving them, are we certain they are looking out for swimmers?? I don’t agree with how this situation has been handled at all, by the way. The owner of the boatyard can’t tell a paying customer what they can and cannot do while they are own the beach and if they choose to walk down and employ the services of a jet ski operator down the beach, he has no legal right to stop them.. they have paid for the services of what the boatyard has to offer and are paying the services of the jets operator. I went to the boat yard before it was the boa yard in this incarnation 20 years ago and when it first opened like it is now.. But don’t use the services or recommend it these days at all.

  5. Tony Webster February 13, 2015 at 7:00 am

    The Boatyard has been a prime national beach attraction for several decades, and has been a huge conributor to our country’s F/X earnings. What the lawyers/ activists/ might try to do, is teach the jet-ski folks a little manners and deportment; how to get a free-ride off Boatyard customers, and keeping everybody happy in a win-win arrangent- which it can indeed be. Playing the race-card is now a tire-some, worn-out ploy by a bunch not known for their political successes, who could neither run a boatyard operation, nor a jet-ski one.
    Anyone who has invested millions in a sucessful business, and who sees it being wrecked by a bunch of hangers-on, would respond in the same way: ask; plead for co-operation, and eventaully, would do what he’s gotta do, to save his business.
    Leave race outa this; let common-sense prevail…and keep the money flowing. God knows, we need every green cent.

  6. seagul February 13, 2015 at 8:54 am

    It would be almost three decades now since I moved to Europe and prior to that I’ve worked as a licensed vendor myself. Let’s not stretch the truth here with this boatyard’s several decades of existence. The corporations have successfully bribed many puppets with money and flattery and social assets to utter such misinformation about the grass-root reality of this industry. With regard to business—we must do it—-with a vision—a moral conscience and the will of self liberation. The education revolution in the 1960’s led by our founder the right Hon E.W.Barrow provided the means for us to achieve economic and social equality–Respect.

  7. arther lashley February 13, 2015 at 8:56 am

    Crying and whining,20$ a day!!!
    More like 600$ plus.
    I have worked on wave runners (now Jet Ski’s) as they were than.
    The money is fabulous for the guy with the Jet ski.
    The income tax should send some “private investigators” to see just what these, operators are raking in on a daily basis.
    Mek dem eye POP!!

  8. seagul February 13, 2015 at 9:45 am

    It is almost impossible in our market driven society to understand what can be done to fight this colonial economic mindset. Freedom in the Caribbean is the freedom to be taken advantage of by government-supported plantation ’boutique’ hotels and big business. The freedom to be jobless and destitute, and un-represented by the corporate hustlers called politicians. Neglecting social culture breeds corruption. Where are the voices of justice within the relative associations here?

  9. Aldo February 13, 2015 at 9:51 am

    That is so redicoulous the way how those guys bare being treated,those owners at the boatyard must be really have a lot of politician friends to get away with all of that BS,who is this guy supposed to be,i hope mr commissing sue the boatyard for all the money that those guys loose per day with intrest

  10. Walter Prescod February 13, 2015 at 10:46 am

    I say sue them, and remind them this is Barbados.
    People in Barbados should start a boycott of this club of colonist

  11. Alex3 February 13, 2015 at 10:47 am

    I have been coming to Barbados since 1980 and the issue of jet ski operators approaching those using the beaches regardless whether they are south coast or west coast is no something new.
    Most of the guys take no for an answer and leave you be but some come back several times and ask “are you ready now?” Some don’t bother to remember a face.
    However, usually it works OK and therefore I suspect that there is more to this than meets the eye.

  12. Fline fish February 13, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    On the surface it seems that Mr. Defreitas is being unreasonable. It seems to me that the two parties need each other, although Mr. Defreitas may not agree. It’s outrageous to tell paying patrons what they can and cannot do with their money. This is a risky position to take, since this speaks more about Mr. Defreitas than it does about the Jet Ski Operators. However, I am sure that he’s extremely frustrated with a group that’s don’t understand that this is a symbiotic relationship, so he’s trying to control what he thinks is controllable. I don’t think that suing is the answer. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth soon leaves everyone blind and toothless. What they need is an arbitrator, so that both sides views can be heard in an impartial forum.

  13. Tony Waterman February 14, 2015 at 4:56 am

    PLEASE !!!! before u Criticize me for my Comment, read what i have written and do some COMPREHENSION.
    I am in no way on Mr.Defreitas’ side of this Qurrel, but i will lay SOME of the Blame at the feet of the Jet Ski Operators. WHY????
    They should be a REGISTERED Co-Operative, this way they would be acting with ONE VOICE, “L’Union Fait La Force (Unity is Strength) BLACK BAJANS Have to start to realise how to become EFFECTIVE Business People, and STOP being Petty amongst themselves. there is some truth to What Mr.Defreitas has said about their Behaviour, and they need to Deal with that better.they are giving him Ammunition to use against them.
    again PLEASE!!!!! take what i have written as ADVISE not as Criticism, i too want them to Get their piece of the Pie, but they have to do a better job at getting that share.


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