Barbados Coastline Gone!

spanish coastline

Source: UK Telegraph

The practice of the rich and famous to build luxury properties on the coastlines of Spain appears to be running into a snag. There is the glaring similarity to what is happening in Barbados. Of course the big difference if we are to compare Barbados to Spain, the Barbados government will never imitate the decision of Spain to demolish properties on our coastline.

Perhaps it is unfair to compare Spain to Barbados as far as what it possible. Spain is a developed country in the world and is blessed with significantly more resources than Barbados. Nevertheless the rationale behind the Spanish government to clear 482 miles of coastline would mesh with the perennial concerns of Barbadians. What makes it more acute for Barbados is for us to reflect that the habitable coastline of Barbados must be less than 12 miles! The coastline of Barbados has become depressing to view in recent years.

Maybe our comparison is somewhat extreme we have to admit but it raises the concern by many yet again. The physical development of our coastline is currently being undertaken on an ad hoc basis. A survey of the coastline suggests that Barbados has past the point of no return. Our coastline as been raped of its exotic and intoxicating beauty FOREVER!

26 comments

  • truely truely

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  • The West and South coasts are gone, but at least we still have a somewhat pristine East coast. That is, until they complete their plans to put the national garbage dump alongside the national park.

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  • Oh! what vandalism is inflicted upon us in the name of so called progress. Our children will never enjoy those drives along the West Coast, where ever so often we had a peep at the azure blue of the open sea; often framed by beached fishing boats or the green foliage of luxuriant trees. Gone, oh yes! gone forever.

    Unfortunately some of our Barbadian brothers and sisters, are overawed by money and its acquisition, until we break from that shackle, we will never be free. We are mentally imprisoned in a box, from which we feel the only escape is the taking or accumulation of money by any means. If we can release ourselves from that mental box, we will be kings, in the land of our birth yes “kings.” If we fail to do so, we will forever be the pickers of pond grass, from our own fields and not be harvesting the fruits from them.

    However we can now glimpse fleetingly those glass and concrete monstrousities, whose supposedly golden interiors we will never darken, the high walls and guards with truncheons will see to that.

    How can a people willingly give up so much that is beautiful and have nothing in return.

    Now we seek “Laws” to make us men and women.

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  • Below is a copy of a letter I sent to the Nation. I may have posted it here before, and the Nation have not yet published it. I sent a copy to Adrian Loveridge, he responded very positively, he is a bit of a walker himself!

    Letters to the Editor,
    Nation Newspaper,
    4th January, 2008.

    Dear Editor,

    There must be many others, far more professional than myself here in Barbados, who have proposed the establishment of a coastal footpath for Barbados. However, I present now my two-cents worth. I came to Barbados as a permanent resident in 1996, and was immediately struck by the often unspoiled beauty of much of its coastline for such a densely populated island. In the UK I was a regular walker (but not a member of the influential Footpath Association), often taking along a cutlass with me to keep clear neglected footpaths. Here in Barbados I needed a stout stick to ward off stray dogs, and a blind eye to the garbage.

    I no longer walk (arthritis has set in), but I have learnt of the many controversies concerning access to our public beaches. It may be a far-fetched dream to think that Barbados could establish an approximately 60 mile long route, but legislation could be put in place to support its eventual realization, which would also address the beach access problems. Recently it has also been suggested to me that the footpath could draw alongside itself a cycle track, which occasionally would have to resort to the public roads to circumvent the already developed stretches. Concerning the footpath, these developed stretches would have to consider providing a route through them or around them, on the sea side of course!

    Such an amenity in Barbados would be a considerable asset to the tourist industry as well as a recreational outlet for residents. I believe the two tracks, walking and cycling, would attract international events alongside surfing and motor sports, for instance. With adequate legislation in place, the physical infrastructure for the tracks could be implemented in sections, quite easily in some places, I think. It may take many years before the final complete circuit connections are made, but what an event that would be! I doubt I would be around for the opening ceremony.

    To further emphasize two aspects of this idea at a more general level, I suggest that we have to diversify our tourism product substantially. There are movements already in this direction, I know, as we open up our gullies, and we are considering the establishment of national parks at Graeme Hall and elsewhere, for instance. The idea of a coastal footpath and cycle track is well in line with the developing interests of worldwide tourism for environmentally friendly and sustainable projects. The second aspect would be the further realization amongst the local population, as well as the tourists, that walking and cycling are becoming more and more popular, and supported by governments and local authorities throughout the developed world. Cycle tracks are now well-established even in densely populated urban areas, as people turn towards a healthier lifestyle, and government and local authorities encourage this. There is also the growing awareness of the seriousness of global warming, and a movement away from the use of fossil fuels for mobility, at least over short distances.

    Yours faithfully,
    (name supplied)

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  • Were those homes in Costa built with the appropriate planning permission? If, ‘yes’ – then how on earth could the Government want to demolish them? – Unless Spain is a department of Zimbabwe…..

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  • Krzysztof Skubiszewski

    Centipede. Read the last sentence in the Telegraph clip. Of course some of the houses were built legally. (But corruptly – which is often the same thing.)

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  • The DLP and BLP are to primarily blame for part of the underlying basis why the physical development of the west and south coasts of Barbados has been changing so rapidly but so greatly out of favour of the natural topographical beauty of many parts of these coasts themselves and, too, badly out of favour of the Barbadian masses and middle classes and their own social and cultural development. Where Barbados is concerned, the most recent and greatest potential crime and injustice against necessary environmental and socio-cultural preservation is the recent case of the Four Seasons Project in Black Rock, St. Michael. The last BLP Government SHOULD BE DAMNED IN HELL for allowing that touristic-oriented concrete-despoiling project to be sited there in desecration of the unspoilt beauty of the natural vegetation that prevailed hundred of years before that same sordid ugly man-made intervention. It is even a greater potential crime and transgression against humanity that such could NEVER EVER be restored to its former state of natural richness and beauty.

    Verily, it is DLP and BLP Governments, generally, and their respective Ministers responsible for Town and Country Planning, particularly, that have over the years allowed great numbers of locals, and in some cases foreigners, to “sell” our invaluable patrimony – the real estate on these coastlines – to FOREIGNERS, for really cartloads of transient money – some of which has been and will continue to be wrongly stolen (TAXATION) from these foreigners, once DLP and BLP Governments continue to exist.

    Moreover, not only have these Governments been flagrantly refusing to outlaw “OWNERSHIP” of our lands by these FOREIGNERS, been starkly failing to pass laws profoundly circumcribing the number of land and building spaces nationals and foreigners could own at any one time any where in Barbados to reasonable amounts (see our pre-election Manifesto 2006@www.somassfreedem.org), but they have also been unwisely refusing to put in place and implement strong enough environmental and physical development laws and systems to prevent the grossly reckless and negligent overuse and ransacking of much of the coastal real estate of Barbados.

    Finally, whereas there is need for some amount of physical development (which would mean some minimum but necessary environmental and socio-cultural degradation and despoilation) of our west and south coasts consistent with the attainment of country’s proper material and financial and material aims and objectives, the amount of physical development of much of these coasts that is being seen now is TOTALLY EXCESSIVE AND DANGEROUS to the further sustainable development of our country. Surely, we must stop electing DLP and BLP Governments if we are to see equitable and fair development take place overall among all the major sectors in Barbados. PDC is the party to elect in the future!!

    PDC

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  • Krzysztof Skubiszewski

    PDC – You say “the most recent and greatest potential crime and injustice against necessary environmental and socio-cultural preservation is the recent case of the Four Seasons Project in Black Rock, St. Michael.”
    Don’t forget the less recent but no less scandalous (potentially criminal?) Port St. Charles abomination. Where a pristine beach for everyone once existed and where people from as far away as Checker Hall could walk all the way to Speightstown along the shore line. It’s now a walled and gated eyesore – with most apartments empty most of the year – with a huge gash cut through the beach to allow a few boats to sail in and out on weekends. Forcing locals who want to walk to Speightstown to divert all round the compound wall along the main highway.

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  • Krzysztof Skubiszewski,

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    What you have just outlined is so correct!! And this Port St. Charles Marina development would have involved one or two of these same people who would have been so busy callously plundering that once pristine and wonderful area in Black Rock. IT IS A DAMNED SHAME AND DISGRACE THAT WE HAVE ALLOWED THESE KINDS OF THINGS TO HAPPEN TO OUR COUNTRY!!

    PDC

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  • Don’t know about you but I do prefer the East.

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  • When the world was young there was Hotel Royal belonging to A E Taylor and run by his son Charlie; Hastings Hotel, Ocean view and Marine Hotel. And the Crane. Don’t know if there were others. Maybe they were.

    But the ‘Tourist Industry’ snuck up on us. With another hotel here and another there.

    If the future could have been seen, I’d say the East Coast should have been the place for development. Plenty Breeze and plenty space.

    It would have taken a breakwater, say 1500 yards offshore and running for a couple of miles, say from Martin’s Bay to Cattlewash as a starter and maybe the though of that would have been really scary 50 years ago….

    But time is up, there’s little ‘land’ on the West Coast now and MAYBE the crystal ball gazers may get around to this idea.

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  • Centipede:

    Lay off the East Coast. Dont you go giving any money grabbers ideas! Yuh hear that boy? We aint want nun uh dem up deh. We happy de way we is. If any of dem cum, yuh gine see how fast dey get chase way. Remember the coney island shit they wanted to put up pun Beachmount pasture? That idea lasted as long as a snowball in hell.

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  • Oh yes Pat!,

    Indeed the St.
    Josephines stood up and were heard when a monstrosity of a development was planned and paraded at that town hall meeting, as if this was to be the “life saver” of that quaint and peacefull little village called Bathsheba. How dare they, when tour buses by the dozens bring visitors to view the natural beauty which
    the ” experts” sought to replace with concrete!
    I am proud of the folks who protested and would hope that anymore developments under the guise of “progress” will be met head on with the voices of those living closest to the land!

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  • Hi, stayed in Barbados recently and had an amazing time. A lovely holiday with access to amazing beaches and really friendly, pleasant people. Courtesy of a friend I stayed in the Port St Charles development – this would not be a normal holiday for me, I’m not in that wealth bracket- and I’m really sorry to read the negative local feeling about Port St Charles above.

    Myself and my husband were fairly horrified by the “boxed in” nature of the coastline heading south from Speightstown, and there are one or two absolutely grim and ridiculous monstrosities currently being developed along this stretch (one faux neo-classical monstrosity with huge pillars is particularly atrocious). Definitely you should look at curtailing development on whatever open spaces are left along the beach front on the west coast. I know absolutely NOTHING about Barbadian planning laws but surely you can resort to the Courts? or set up a local action group who can occupy particular sites to frustrate development? In Ireland we have a lobby group called An Taisce who frequently frustrate developers and perhaps they might give you some advice on setting up a similar group (if you don’t already have one). You’ll find information at http://www.antaisce.ie/

    I would hope that tourism brings plenty of money to your economy and from that point of view I presume in general it’s useful, beneficial and even necessary. However, I do think you need to ensure that locals continue to have full access to their natural environment, otherwise I can only imagine that pretty soon all but those directly involved with the tourist trade will stop being quite so pleasant to tourists.

    And again, I’m really sorry to hear that the Port Saint Charles development is so controversial – I had absolutely no idea whatsoever. Hopefully it has brought fairly decent employment to the locality to make up for its infringment on the beach and natural environment?

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  • And congratulations to the St Josephines poster, whose comments I’ve just read.

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  • “In Ireland we have a lobby group called An Taisce who frequently frustrate developers and perhaps they might give you some advice on setting up a similar group (if you don’t already have one). You’ll find information at http://www.antaisce.ie/

    irony of ironies …many of the recent condo developments in Barbados is being done by Irish developers!

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  • All the more reason to contact a lobby group that already has experience of dealing with them! That said, An Taisce certainly haven’t managed to stop all the dire development that’s taken place in Ireland over the past ten years. Co-incidentally much of it also on OUR west coast. But An Taisce have the right ideas and are VERY anti-exploitation.

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  • Daon wunna worry bout dem big developments.

    A big hurrycane coming this summer and alla dem like Port St.Charles goin get licks.

    Daon doubt me, nuh.

    A big one passing dis year!

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  • I sees it in me mad donkey’s eyes.

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  • Muhgumphy, wunna soun link wunna is an Obeah man. I getting frighten yuh, cause I ain sure my roof would stan on in a hurricane. Axe yuh mad donkey fuh me if de hurricane can lef lone Sin Philip.

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  • When I mention development along the coast in Barbados, perhaps I do so with an eye for the halcyon days remembered as a boy, and a thought as to if the development could not have been better managed.

    I often bathed – almost every day during school holidays – at Graves End beach, now called ( Pebbles) this was long before the Hilton Hotel was built. In those days bare footed I walked under the Casuarina – mile trees – trying to evade the sharp barbs of their seeds. The trees stood majestically a short distance from the beach. I made sure the red flag was not flying, which would have indicated, shooting was in progress on the rifle range there.

    There was a nice cosy secluded section of beach just a short distance from where Needhams Point lighthouse stood, it was over-arched by a large tree – see grapes us boys called it – whose succulent fruit were more appetizing after a dip in sea water.

    It was not unusual to see men bare-chested squating beside large piles of sea eggs on the rocks during the sea egg season, as they set about their business of extracting roes.

    Along that stretch of beach you would never see another soul during week days, before you exited at the little incline beside the Drill Hall. There were a few desolate grave stones set back from the beach near the wall, for those who might have died far from home, perhaps – I guess – that was why the beach was called Graves End.

    The peace and tranquility was astounding, you could sit and look out to see and hear only the gentle lap of the waves against the sand, truely magical.

    Alast! I have my memories, and then the buldozers came.

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  • The powers that be in Barbados have sold their souls to gain the world. My mother was born and raised in Barbados and I have been visiting Barbaos since I was a little girl. As an adult I still visit every year and I am dismayed at the sight of the West coast. Luxury Villa’s and hotels clutter and distract from the simple beauty of the coastline.

    Is this what the government of Barbados is proud to call progress? It may be for the rich but not for the typical Bajan! The soul and culture of Barbados is disappearing before our very eyes! Wake up before it is to late…or is it already?

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