Resist urge to remove barrier to beach

| 13/08/2018

If it is clearly labelled as public access to the beach and blocked, can’t anyone from the public just tear down the barrier without having to complain to Planning?

Advance ChevroletAuntie’s answer: I realise it is tempting to get in there and take care of the offending blockage yourself, but there are legal considerations.

A Department of Planning official explained that if someone decides simply to “cure the breach”, it could result in them being held liable for damage to property.

Instead, the official advises that if anyone comes upon a blocked public right of way, the best course of action is to report the problem to the department by emailing the compliance section.

Once the complaint is made, the department can “act within the parameters of the Development and Planning Law”.

This process may not be as quick as someone knocking down the barrier, but that is the legal and thus the safest way to proceed.

By the way, I have received several questions from readers about blocked access to beaches, so stay tuned for more answers on this topic.


Category: Ask Auntie, Planning Questions

Comments (6)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    FYI, the “laws” the first commenter posted are Tourism Guidelines, and only apply to hotels and other tourist properties on the beach, not to private property such as someone’s house. And, as someone mentioned, unless these guidelines are actually enforced, hotel owners are still going to kick out us riff-raff who don’t want to pay to use their beach.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The laws do not protect the original culprit.

    From the Department of Tourism, page 56 of the 2012-13 TOURIST ACCOMMODATION INSPECTION GUIDELINES & REGULATIONS manual.
    Appendix D

    1. In order to dispel any confusion or misunderstanding which may have arisen in the past over the rights which members of the public enjoy over Cayman’s beaches the following guidelines may be of assistance, especially to managers of beachfront hotels and other tourism related beachfront properties.

    2. The public access to Cayman’s beaches is by the recognized public rights of way which are usually clearly marked on maps and physically on the ground.
    Landowners over whose land these public rights of way exist are under a legal duty to make sure that they are kept free and clear of any obstruction or debris.

    3. Once members of the public arrive on the beach the following rules apply.

    4. The seaward boundary of a landowner’s or tenant’s property is, in tidal waters, the mean high water mark. Between the mean high water mark and the low water mark, known as “foreshore”, the land belongs to the Crown as does anything below the sea up to the limit of territorial waters.

    5. Where, however, a landowner’s property consists of “beach” above the mean high water mark, then the usual rule, that a landowner can eject anyone he chooses from his land, is displaced.

    6. Members of the public have the right to use any part of Cayman’s beaches for recreation even though the part of the beach being used is on private property, i.e. is above the mean high water mark. Such a public right is one of a group of rights which members of the public enjoy, even over private land, in the
    Cayman Islands. It is a right which the law presumes to have existed for many years and which members of the public have acquired under the Prescription Law.

    7. Whilst members of the public have no rights to use private property such as beach furniture which belongs to beachfront property owners, they may not be prevented from using the beach or passing to and fro along the beach even where the beach they use is on private land. Hotel managers should ensure that all staff working on the beach such a security personnel and food and beverage staff are aware of the law and that the public right to use any part of the beach is not restricted or limited in any way.

    (LAW 35 OF 2017)

    26. (1) No person shall, without lawful authority, obstruct or
    interfere with the right of a member of the public under this Law to have access to public land, to use public land or to exercise a public right of way over private land.

    (2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence
    and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of five thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term of six months, or to both, and shall in addition to such fine or imprisonment be liable to a fine of five hundred dollars per day for every day after conviction that such obstruction continues to persist.

    • Anonymous says:

      i agree the laws are there. but it is not enforced. charge the culprit for blocking the use of the beach if it was a public access. dont just take it down and have it put back up in a matter of months.
      I dont know the answer to this question, but a few months back there was a video of someone who removed a barrier and the home owner approached him very aggressively. was the home owner charged for both his behavior and for blocking the path?

    • Anonymous says:

      Guidelines from the Department of Tourism are not laws. This is all magic thinking until some court actually enforces a public right to access the “beach” above the mean high water line. Hasn’t happened yet, probably never will.

      • Anonymous says:

        The changes to the beach was initiated by the politician who gave away the West Bay beach to the highest bidder. Corruption stinks and demoralizes the indigenous people. Stop changing Cayman for a few developers.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The laws protect the original culprit. Rather than just taking barrier down, charge them for putting it up