By Elesha George
The use of law enforcement continues to be exercised on Barbuda as division between the Barbuda Council and Peace, Love and Happiness (PLH) developers continues.
On Monday, a handful of Council members and two technical experts resorted to surveying the beachside at Palmetto Point, after access was denied to some of their party.
Chairperson of the Barbuda Council, Calsey Beazer, and Member of Parliament for Barbuda, Trevor Walker, reportedly visited the Palmetto Point site with two other council members and two experts, to include local resident and school principal John Mussington in his capacity as a coastal marine environmental consultant.
The group visited the location with permission from the PLH developers less than a week after the Barbuda Council wrote to the developers, informing them that they would be inspecting the premises as the leaseholders of the property.
A representative of PLH recorded the names of those present, then advised them that they would need to take their temperature, as is now regulated as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mussington told Observer that they were then asked to wait, when one of the representatives of the development informed them that they could not all enter, as permission was only granted to specific individuals.
“They will only be taking members of Council; anyone else is considered to be third party and they would not be allowed on the premises,” he related.
The group reluctantly left and proceeded to walk across the sand dunes to the beach, when Mussington said they were alerted to an approaching vehicle.
An agent of the developers, he said, warned them then that he had called the police and that they would be arrested.
They proceeded nonetheless through the bushes and onto the beach since the public access has been restricted by the developers, the consultant claimed.
Mussington said the group was trailed by the police the entire time until they completed their beachside inspection.
When Observer reached out to a PLH spokesman about the accusations, he confirmed that the group was not allowed to enter the premises because the developers made preparations for the five people they were told were coming.
He said that the Council was also informed that they would have to drive accompanied to prevent any risk of injury at the active development site.
“The proper process and procedure was outlined and they arrived and politely declined to partake in the tour,” he told Observer, adding that at no point were they trying to stop the inspection.
Observer was unable to contact the police in Barbuda via telephone and similarly was unable to reach the Barbuda MP or the chairperson about the matter.
This is the second time in less than a month that the police have been called to the site at Palmetto Point. In mid-July, the secretary of the Barbuda Council and a truck driver who assisted the Council in blocking the entrance to the golf course there were arrested and charged.
Barbuda Council members fear the impact of the construction of the golf course near the coastline, among other things. Their concern is based on a November 19 2020 report by the Department of Environment (DoE) which highlighted potential risks like contamination of the island’s water system and destruction of wildlife ecosystems.
The department however gave the developer permission to carry out phase one of its project, provided that it presents an environmental impact assessment to the agency.
Since then, a July 14 letter from the Development Control Authority said the developers were in strict compliance with the conditions of approval. That letter also denied the Barbuda Council permission to issue a ‘stop work’ order to PLH.