Gov’t to assist hotels with Sargassum clean-up

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The government will be meeting with hoteliers on the island to see what assistance could be rendered to deal with the sargassum seaweed which is wreaking havoc on the country’s coastline.
Known for its pungent, sulphuric odour once it starts decaying, the seaweed is posing a serious challenge for hoteliers, especially those with beachfront properties.
Charles “Max” Fernandez, the tourism minister, said hotels on the eastern coast of the island are being affected the most. He said the government will do what it can to bring relief to those businesses that are being affected.
“We will see how we can work, either with the Public Works Department to assist in cleaning the beach daily. It is a tremendous challenge for us, but it is something that we have to work with,” the minister said during Monday’s post-cabinet press conference.
The minister was also asked about the possibility of using the seaweed in a positive way as suggested by many experts around the world.
Minister Fernandez said he is unsure as to how the seaweed could be used.
He, however, stressed that this year is unprecedented in terms of the amount of the seaweed that has reached the shores of Caribbean islands.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Antigua Hotel and Tourist Association, Alex DeBrito, has described the situation as intense. According to him, it has increased over the past few days.
He said property owners at the Grand Pineapple Beach Resort, St. James Club and English Harbour are working daily to clear the beaches to keep the seaweed at bay and some hotel guests are also seeking alternative arrangements because of the problem.
“We are all trying to fight it, we are trying to give some ideas to each other. It would be a good time for us as a nation to work together and try to clean our shores as much as we can,” DeBrito said.
The hotelier also expressed concern about the conditions of popular beaches like Jabberwok and Half Moon Bay that are favoured by many visitors to the island.
Several beaches on the island are also covered with brown algae.

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