DeFreitas supports Council’s action to clear beach-access road and says Antiguans should take a page from Barbudans’ book
Franz deFreitas, the United Progressive Party (UPP) caretaker for St. John’s City South, is standing in solidarity with the Barbudans for the action they took on Thursday, May 4, to restore access to the Coral Group Beach.
The Barbuda Council instructed a backhoe operator to clear an access road that apparently had been blocked off by the owner of a nearby tourism property.
Reports say the owner business owner constructed new cottages along the coastal road and wrote to the Council seeking permission to erect temporary barriers across the road.
However, after permission was granted and the construction completed, the temporary barriers became permanent, further excluding Barbudans from the area.
In justifying Thursday’s action, the Council notes that, according to the laws of Antigua and Barbuda, residents must have clear access to the beaches.
DeFreitas agrees wholeheartedly, adding that the Beach Control Act specifically states that residents should have free access to the beaches. And he declares that no one should be allowed to flout the laws on the basis of their financial status, race or class.
According to the UPP caretaker, persons living in Antigua should take a page out of the Barbudans’ book and stand up against the many injustices now taking place, including the fencing-off of beaches.
Councilman John Mussington says the Barbuda Council attempted to correct the situation at the Coral Group Beach a few months ago.
However, after the Council dispatched a backhoe to clear the road, the business owner reportedly called the police and confronted the equipment operator with a cutlass, forcing him to withdraw.