Annoyed by vendors storing equipment on the beach

| 23/05/2016

Public Beach on West Bay Road seems to be used by vendors who store their equipment (such as large amount of beach chairs). As this is a public beach and belongs to all of us, how is it that some vendors are able to use the Public Beach area for storage of their equipment 24/7? Is there some compensation arrangement between the vendors and the Government? Can anyone set up a business on the Public Beach and store their equipment?

Auntie’s answer: While different agencies can be called on to deal with issues regarding vendors, depending on the circumstance and what it is they are selling (which I will get to in a bit), one thing is certain – you are not allowed simply to set up a business on the beach and store your equipment there.

I received a very comprehensive answer on this from the Ministry of Planning, which seems to cover every contingency. As you point out, Public Beach is crown property and is for everyone’s enjoyment. The ministry acknowledged it has received complaints about this issue and is working to address those.

The helpful person at the ministry told me that the activities on Public Beach are now being monitored by several agencies, such as the Parks and Recreation Unit of the Public Works Department, the police, and the departments of commerce and investment (DCI), immigration, and environmental health (DEH), and “action is being taken by the relevant authority dependent on the infraction”.

Every vendor must have a Trade and Business licence and, very relevant to your concerns, this does not permit beach chairs to be stored on the beach.

Now I am sure there are many cynics out there who will scoff at this news and say that it doesn’t matter if it is not allowed; people will store whatever they want.

Well, just last week warning notices were actually issued to vendors for various infractions, including, you will be glad to know, storing chairs on the beach. Among other things, various government agencies also checked if vendors were licensed, possessed legal immigration status and, if selling food, that they carried an up-to-date food-handling certificate.

But wait, there’s more: the Trade and Business Law (see the DCI website) also authorises administrative fines to be levied for infractions, after two warnings are issued. These fines range between $100 and $2,500.

The planning person explained that the ultimate goal of all this monitoring is to ensure properly licensed vendors are providing what they are legally allowed to and that they do not interfere with “the use, access or enjoyment of other beachgoers, or the beachfront properties in the area”.

However, the law does not really deal adequately with vending on crown property, the official said, and a Public Lands Law, which is being drafted, is going to address all these issues. In the meantime, government is developing a policy that will deal with what is and is not allowed on crown land.

As for your compensation-arrangement question, all government gets out of vendors on the beach is the licence fee.


Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    These vendors are an eyesore and a nuisance. They should be completely banned from the beach. The pristine beach now looks no different than any other poor Caribbean island. Why are we allowing standards to drop?

    • Anonymous says:

      The reason is the same as Craft Market…….LOVE TO COPYCAT! We, Cayman Islands, have some world renowned silver thatch artisans yet none our craft market is overrun with items made in China, Honduras and Jamaica? We have a style of making hammocks yet none of Cayman-style hammocks are seen but some with rasta colors are waving in the breeze for some unsuspecting tourists, Caymanians make the best graters yet none are sold! The Public Beach is where those who won’t pay the fees for craft market thought they’d get away there hassling our tourists as they do in all the other islands such as braiding, renting chairs etc! The fact they’re cracking down isn’t bringing any sense of relief cause our islands esp GC is GONE! 7mile Beach is laden with too tall buildings of concrete and not one has a porch or verandah or a lil color! No one can get a glance of our beautiful waters to give your spirit a lil reprieve cause we had some real pirates who had already gone to other islands and gobbled up beach property because islanders didn’t really know the value, came here and did the same! IF you can find 100 Caymanians on 7mile beach, as property owners, please let us know!
      Looking forward to seeing the crap being sold and the lounge chairs dotting our beaches are soon GONE!!