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Andrew Foyle protest at L'anse Guyac in Canouan on Thursday. (Photo: Terrance Bynoe/Facebook)
Andrew Foyle protest at L’anse Guyac in Canouan on Thursday. (Photo: Terrance Bynoe/Facebook)
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The lawyer for one of the two men charged with trespassing in connection with their activism to secure access by land to beaches in the north of Canouan, wants Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves to intervene.

“I call on the Prime Minister right now to end this charade,” Kay Bacchus-Baptiste said outside the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

Bacchus-Baptiste is representing Terry Bynoe, who, along with Andrew Foyle, both of Canouan, has been charged that on Thursday, Jan. 5, they “did enter upon the property of Canouan Resort Development Limited as a trespasser with intent to annoy”.

“When it suited his purpose, he was with the same Terry Bynoe demonstrating for this same issue. This is fifteen years hence and it is time to end this charade,” Bacchus-Baptiste said.

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While in opposition, Gonsalves, who came to office in March 2001, had supported Bynoe and other Canouan residents in their efforts to secure, under the New Democratic Party administration, access to the island’s beaches.

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Access to beaches in the “developed” north of Canouan, where resorts are located, remains an issue.

Developers say there is unfettered access by sea and that they can facilitate transportation by land, via golf carts, if notified in advance of residents’ wishes to go to the beaches. Residents say they should be able to walk to the beach if they wish, saying this was always an option before the resort was constructed.

On Friday after the men pleaded not guilty to the charges and were each granted EC$2,000 bail, Bacchus Baptiste further said:

“It cannot be a threat for black people, in their own country, to be walking along a road to gain access to a beach. Where I this mentality coming from? It is a time to put an end to this. I do not understand these charges. I call upon the DPP (Director of Public Prosecution) to do the right thing and nolle prosequi — it is a popular word, where he is concerned, nolle prosequi these charges,” she said in reference to chief prosecutor, Colin Williams.

Andrew Foyle
Andrew Foyle leaves the Kingstown’s Magistrate Court on Friday, his 76th birthday. (iWN photo)

Asked what she thinks of her client’s chances in front of a magistrate, Bacchus Baptiste told iWitness News:

“Well it seems to me that they are opening up themselves to false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution. That is what it seems to me.”

Foyle told iWitness News that he was arrested on L’anse Guyac, one of the beaches where the resort is located in the north of Canouan.

Bacchus-Baptiste, who arrived at the court after the proceedings ended, noted that she had just come into the matter.

But she questioned the prosecution’s ability to prove the charge against the men.

“How are they going to prove this? My information is that he was simply walking on the public path, highway to the beach. How can that annoy? How can that annoy the hoteliers? What are they saying? What is the mentality?” she said, referring specifically to Bynoe.

Bynoe is also charged that he did unlawfully disobey a court order, suit number 507 of 2000 of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.

Bacchus-Baptiste said she did not know what that charge was about, but added that it sounds “very non-specific” to her.

“But I have a feeling that that is a defunct matter,” she said.

She also commented on the fact that the men were transported from Canouan to Kingstown on a Coast Guard patrol vessel sometime between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. Friday.

Terry Bynoe
Terry Bynoe leaves the court after pleading not guilty to a trespassing charge on Friday. (iWN photo)

“What is the fear? What is so important to bring him up in the dead of night on the Bequia Channel? What is the fear? Who is calling the shots here? Who is behind all of this? And I am, again, calling on the prime minister to step in; put an end to this nonsense; it is enough.”

In court, lawyer Bayliss Frederick filled in for Bacchus-Baptiste.

He told the court that the nature of the defence is a matter that requires addressing by the High Court.

He said one of the charges against Bynoe relates to a civil matter, case 509 of 2000, which that is before the High Court.

Frederick said that the defence required a full examination of what that concerned and whether there was, in fact, a protest or criminal trespass on Thursday.

He said that matter is one that the magistrate court cannot address because it touches on fundamental rights and a constitutional matter.

Jomo Thomas, who is representing Foyle, however, said that he did not share Frederick view that the matter must be resolved before the high court.

The next hearing in the matter is at the Union Island Magistrate’s Court on Jan. 20.

Man, 76, charged on his birthday as beach access impasse continues in Canouan


2 replies on “As activists are charged, lawyer wants PM ‘to put an end to’ Canouan beach impasse”

  1. How can the police arrest these people for trespass when the people are exercising their public and citizens rights in walking ancient public rights of way and visiting public beaches. Both of these are rights upheld by law [or should be] and therefore when the police arrest them they the police are open to charges of false and even perhaps malicious arrest.

    There is an element of spiteful maliciousness in this whole matter which points to the ULP government, that being their forte.

    Both Ralph Gonsalves and James Mitchell should be ashamed of themselves for creating this problem. Ralph Gonsalves for being two faced when considering what he said and did whilst in opposition and more recently for compounding the problem. And Mitchell for creating the original problem. I hope history displays them as a pair of slime bags.

    Gonsalves should be backing the citizens not a bunch of foreigners regardless of how much money they wave about.

    I just hope corruption whilst in public office is not involved. No one has evidence of such and I do not remember anyone making that accusation. But it smells and should be investigated, not by the police because they are now part of the problem.

    There should be an urgent public enquiry using some people who are not under the ULP or government control.

    Lets hope if these people are found guilty that the case can then go on to the House of Lords. Why not start a fighting fund if an appeal requires funding in the future. I will undertake to subscribe towards it if and when that happens.

    You may fine some useful information here

  2. The people and government of SVG have to come up with a better solution than what now exists. Of course Gonsalves has turned out to have fooled the people. Are we surprised? Look at Obama, same thing. Most politicians say anything that the people want to hear at the right moment. We have to decide if there will be certain beaches that will remain public, and which are for sale. When I went to Hawaii all of Waikiki is public, regardless of all the hotels on the beach. The only way we could do that is change the Prime Minister’s economic philosophy to craft policy that creates opportunity rather than take as much as possible from the people so he can get credit for big projects such as airports, marinas and building new cities, after squeezing everything possible in the form of Customs Duties and raising taxes, while the rich foreigners pay very little. If the PM changes his economic philosophy, one day no one will fear going to the beach and getting their stuff stolen by those that can’t attain anything, unless they thief. Beaches will be safer as they are in Hawaii….as long as you do not go on the beach at night.
    I would not want to be a foreigner on a public beach in SVG!

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