Public will retain access to East End beach
Members of the public will retain access to a St George’s beach near a new hotel development.
The news came as the House of Assembly repealed an earlier Act to develop the new St Regis hotel in the Olde Towne, which had given “reasonable” access to Fort St Catherine beach, also known as Gate’s Bay.
The replacement St George’s Resort Act took out the word “reasonable” to reassure people that they would still have unrestricted access. Lovitta Foggo, who represents an East End constituency, explained: “We couldn’t explain to our constituents what that meant in a real-life situation.”
The original legislation, passed by then ruling One Bermuda Alliance in 2015, caused concern in the Progressive Labour Party Opposition that the beach might be declared off limits.
But Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, shadow home affairs minister, on Friday accused the PLP of playing “political football”.
She highlighted that no concerns were raised by the PLP in 2008 when the same wording was used in legislation for the Park Hyatt development at the same site when the party was in government.
Jamahl Simmons, the tourism minister, said the people of St George’s trusted the PLP as a “government that listened”.
He added: “The people of St George’s didn’t trust the OBA.”
Mr Simmons said the “difference between then and now was the presence of Renée Ming”, the St George’s North PLP MP who contested the original wording. She said during the House debate: “Access was key. It was never answered by the former administration.”
The new Act does allow for limited access to the beach by the general public “at specified times and to specified areas” for hotel events or for maintenance and repairs with the agreement of the minister.
Kim Swan, MP for St George’s West, said he supported efforts to “increase commercial business viability” in the Olde Towne.
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