STATEMENT BY THE HONOURABLE MELVIN M. TURNBULL
MINISTER FOR NATURAL RESOURCES AND LABOUR
SEVENTH SITTING OF THE FOURTH SESSION OF THE FOURTH HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
25TH OCTOBER 2022
REMOVAL OF SAND FROM BEACHES
Madam Speaker, we live in a geographic location that grants us certain privileges which others must travel or relocate to experience. Our 60 islands and cays, to which we have ample access, are all surrounded by beautiful white sand. I also recognise that because sand is so readily available, persons may not just use it for their enjoyment, but also for other purposes and that is what I need to urgently address in this sitting.
Madam Speaker I am hereby informing those members of the public that were unaware and I am reminding those who are aware, that sand mining in the Territory is illegal according to the Beach Protection Ordinance CAP 233. 1985. Removal of any natural barrier against the sea; including sand, stone, gravel or shingle from any land that is part of the shoreline is not allowed. Removal of even small quantities from beaches results in damage over a long period of time. Any person removing sand is guilty of an offense and is liable to a fine penalty or imprisonment for a term of 6 months or both; and in addition, thereto, any boat, vehicle or animal used in connection with the commission of an offense is liable to forfeiture.
Madam Speaker we do not have an ecosystem without beaches, and without beaches, our tourism product may cease to exist. We all have a responsibility to maintain their integrity. Human activities such as illegal sand mining and filling in of our ponds have had a negative effect on our beaches like Josiah Bay and Cane Garden Bay. This is coupled with natural extreme weather events like floods and hurricanes, which have also negatively impacted the integrity of our beaches and the loss of coastal vegetation. Now more than ever our beaches are susceptible to erosion and hence must be protected.
Beaches are not only important for recreation, but also support nesting leatherback and hawksbill turtles along with shore and seabirds.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour and I are therefore asking for the public’s compliance with not removing sand from any of our beaches.