Mussington laments that blocked access to beaches and historical sites has become a way of life for Barbudans

It appears that plans are afoot to fence Barbudans out from beach
access and various historical and other sites across the sister-island,
says marine biologist and Barbuda Councilman John Mussington.

Mussington’s comments come on the heels of a video in which
United Progressive Party Senator Alex Browne made a similar
charge. Browne, the Party’s caretaker for St. Phillip’s North,
reported that residents have been blocked from accessing a local
beach, Laurie Bay, in the manner prescribed by law. 

Mussington says he was not surprised to hear that access is being
denied on Antigua, since this is becoming an everyday way of life for

He says there has been a trend, since 2017, that the sister-islanders
have been battling: A situation that he refers to as “disaster
capitalism,” in which certain persons believe they can use a disaster
to their advantage and grab lands for themselves.

According to the councilman, Barbudans are also facing a situation
in which, literally, they are being fenced off – and fenced in – from
the coastline. And this move, he predicts, is going to lead to the
destruction of those who depend on the sea for their livelihood.

In the meantime, Mussington says, access to the beach from Cocoa
Point has been restricted. 

Another location that has only restricted beach access, he says, is
Palmetto Point, which is located in the National Park and has been
declared a RAMSAR Site.

Mussington says that, from time immemorial, Barbudans – and even
those who were there before the enslaved people were brought to
the island – used that location for making thatched-palm brooms
and for food.

He notes that there is a vast expanse of land bearing coco-plums and
sea grapes, and the biodiversity in the area can be described only as

Further, he says, the sand-dune formations in that location cannot
be compared to any other in the world – which is one of the reasons
it is a protected site.

Mussington says the entire south and southwestern sections of the
sister-island have been restricted from use by Barbudans.

To correct the situation, the councilman notes that there are laws –
the Physical Planning Act and the Beach Protection Act – to protect
beach access, and the Government needs to enforce them.

He says the Physical Planning Act also provides that every
development must provide landward access to the beach, by
whatever means – even if access has to be created through the
private property.

Mussington references other islands that are now trying to rectify
their mistake of selling off beachfront lands without first putting in a
clause to protect locals’ rights.