October 19, 2021

Turks & Caicos: PNP & PDM clash over private beach issue

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By Todeline Defralien, From SUNtv News

A racist rant by a white expatriate protesting against locals using the beach in front of his beach-front property in Taylor Bay, Providenciales, has sparked national outrage and heated debate about private beaches, and ignited a verbal clash and blame-game between the two main political parties in the Turks and Caicos Islands on the subject.

The controversy stems from a cell-phone video captured by young, local designer and restaurant owner Wellington Williams with the bare-backed home-owner claiming that locals were trespassing on his property, and Williams adamantly stating that they were not.

In the clip, which went viral on social media, the man says: “My name is Don Paradiso you see that gate? I own 40ft and 100 feet I will charge you for trespassing, you are on my property, this is my property.”

Williams said, “We are now at Taylor Bay and this guy along with the other security guard are telling us that we cannot be on the beach. If we don’t get our a** of this beach they will charge us for trespassing, this is not your property. That is your property (As he shows Mr. Paradiso house), I don’t care I’ll go crazy, I live here I am not on your property ok whatever you need to do you do it. We’re not bothering you.”

There are no private beaches in Turks and Caicos Islands, although some owners in the disputed area and other locations around the island of Providenciales have been advertising private beaches in their quest to attract high-end visitors in search of privacy.

The beach is question, Taylor Bay, is frequented by tourists and locals who must access it by way of a narrow road that is privately owned. It is near a huge plot of land which was once owned by the late media celebrity, Dick Clarke, but has since been purchased by Lord Michael Ashcroft.

Hon. Doug Parnell, chairman of the ruling People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) said Opposition Leader Hon. Doug Parnell and his Progressive National Party (PNP) “cannot try to disguise their history in the affairs” of Silly Creek and Taylor Bay.

” It is of their own manufacturing which when we fast forward the clock to 2018 from their 1991-1995 decision making we see a young Turks and Caicos Islander being choked off from some of the remaining beaches because of their decision 23 years ago to sell off choice pieces of crown land. In fact, what is comical is that Mr. Misick’s….press conference was a political volley attempt at the young people who he fears will rush head first into a revolution on the beach at Taylor Bay at the call of his younger brother (former Premier Michael Misick). The sibling rivalry is well alive in the PNP.”

Parnell added: “We take note too of the call by Mr. Michael Misick to take back the beach he choked off from us poor Turks and Caicos Islanders and ask him to tell the truth to the people. He should clear his name of the wrong doing he has inflicted on the good people of the TCI while sitting in office from his many decisions which are not before the court.”

The PDM chairman continued: “The people want access to their Beaches. In fact, the latest selling of beach access in this country took place not too long ago under a Rufus Ewing led PNP Government. Our Leader and Premier is correct when she says, “we are constantly bogged down by having to fix and clean up PNP mess”. In the end what is most noteworthy is that in the first week of 2018 we now see a desperate and power hungry group of individuals fielded from within the PNP making major accusations against Government Ministers and the Premier. It’s as if they smell blood, but they really should look down at their feet because that blood is from a shot in the foot.”

Meantime, in a press statement, the Opposition Leader said he was taken to task by the Chairman of the PDM because he “had the audacity to demonstrate leadership where his party has failed to do so”.

Misick added: ” My intervention focused on the history of the development of the entire area know as Chalk Sound including the fact that it was under my administration that Belongers were given the opportunity to take up ownership of their own land hitherto seemingly reserved for others. My real intention though was to appeal for cool headedness at a time when an property owner in Taylor Bay was being wrong and strong in his understanding of the reality, and the vehemence with which he threatened those who had every right to enjoy their heritage albeit no right to trespass over private property. At my press meeting I indicated that I was undertaking research to better clarify the situation and would inform the public once I had better information. I now have that information and recount below the important events leading up to today.”

Misick said the Sapodilla Bay and Taylor Bay Community came into being through a Conditional Purchase Lease between TCIG and Condor Real Estate Limited in 1978 – a company 100% owned by Canadian Developers. The condition being the pushing of a quarry graded roadway servicing the property along with what would be an extremely low price by today’s standard. Subsequent to that the narrow strip of land not in Condor Real Estate ownership was itself the subject of a Conditional Purchase Lease.

He gave the following chronology of the various conveyances of the land directly abutting Taylor Bay Beach and the adjacent beach assess:
• October 17, 1984 parcels 60400/9 & 10 are transferred from the Crown to Clearwater Holdings Ltd. (a company owned jointly by foreign and local developers in return for the construction of road works in the Bight.
• September 5, 1989 Worldwide Hotel Holdings Ltd. has a caution registered as purchaser
• November 2, 1989 Worldwide Hotel Holdings Ltd. changes name to Paradise Cove Ltd.
• March 4, 1991 parcels 60400/9 & 10 are transferred from Clearwater Holdings Ltd. to Paradise Cove Ltd. (Dick Clark)
• October 3, 2007 parcels 60400/9 & 10 are transferred from Paradise Cove Ltd. to MWE Holdings Ltd. (a member of the Ashcroft Group of Companies).
• March 2, 2016 parcels 60400/9 & 10 are mutated into parcels 60400/394-398. Since then a number of easements have been granted by MWE to homeowners in the area giving them access to the Beach.

The following, Misick said, is the Chronology of beach access parcel 60612/90 at the heart of the controversy
• December 20, 1988 parcel 60612/90 is created from a mutation of parcel 60612/52 then owned by Condor Real Estate Limited
• March 21, 1989 parcel 60612/90 is transferred from Condor Real Estate Limited to Gibraltar Investments Ltd.
• December 5, 2007 parcel 60612/90 is transferred from Gibraltar Investments Ltd. to MWE Holdings Ltd.(a member of the Michael Ashcroft Group of Companies).

The PNP leader said the intention all along seemed to have been the prevention of the public – and in particular the local population from accessing the beach – with the full knowledge that the common law position has been for time immemorial and remains that the beach belongs to the public.

“My research has uncovered that were private property abuts the edge of vegetation and there is accretion the accreted land becomes the property of the Crown. Also, where private land is loss because of erosion and this results in an encroachment of the beach on to the boundary of the private property the principle remain that it becomes public. In all and every case the beach belongs to the public. However, when challenged in some common law jurisdiction the plaintiffs were successful,” he added.

“So, despite what Don thinks the Taylor Bay Home owners do not own the beach. However, they do own the access and that is the mischief that has to be cured; that is where the focus of attention ought to be placed. The pressure must be applied to the Government to use existing legislation to compulsory acquire 60612/90 and any other property it deems necessary to secure access to the beach. Attacking the Leader of the Opposition is not the answer, neither is a party on the beach.

During a Press conference on Wednesday, January 3rd, Washington Misick Opposition Leader said that the Progressive National Party (PNP) and the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) are responsible for the issue surrounding Taylor Bay.

He said, “The issue as it related to the beach is not settled and I know there will be people within my own Party who will take me to task for trying to be the voice of moderation, but I believe this is time for a authentic leadership and stirring a conflict at the time when we as a country, PNP and the PDM who are both responsible for the mess ought to be finding ways to solve it and solve it quickly and perhaps we should make it very clear in the first place that anyone with racist tendency should not consider living in these islands or even visiting them because that is not something that we will tolerate.”

Misick added: “I admire the courage of the young man on the beach who took the pictures/video. I admire him for standing up and confronting bigotry, there is no place for bigotry in this country, we should not tolerate it and on the other hand we have right as self respecting people to make sure that whatever we do we do it within the confines of the law. We also ought to petition the authorities to make sure that the effort that was made by the Progressive National Party to have the legislation changed to make it clear what should happen with places like Taylor Bay that is done quickly.”

Misick said it is within the perimeter of the Government to ensure that they have the right to compulsory acquire land to ensure that there is beach access and wherever that is needed anywhere in the Turks and Caicos Islands it ought to be done.

He added: “In short sightedness we have not left enough places. We have not as a country as we’ve developed left spaces, open spaces and park accesses for the public to be able to enjoy these islands we need to go back to the drawing board and make sure that we correct the situation and going forward that there’s space for the public to play.” Misick explained.

IMAGE: Opposition Leader Hon. Washington Misick

For more on this story go to: http://suntci.com/pnp-pdm-clash-over-private-beach-issue-p3111-108.htm

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