THE EDITOR: On September 9 my camera crew and I went down to Vessigny Beach to shoot an episode of my Indigenous Bites series, entitled IB Fishing Industry, Sustainability in Food. This video would have highlighted Neil Campbell, who has been making his living as a fisherman for more than ten years.
We made sure all covid19 protocols would be observed as well as all permissions secured, as beaches are currently closed. I had in my possession a letter from the office of the Commissioner of Police and a supporting letter from Councillor Gerald Debesette of the Siparia Regional Corporation. Both granted us permission to shoot the video on Vessigny Beach between 9 and 11 am on September 9.
We arrived at the beach facility at 8 am to find the gates locked. The security knew nothing about the video shoot, neither were they interested in seeing the letters.
The manager was then called. She too said she knew nothing about my team being permitted to shoot the video there. A short while later she appeared at the locked gates, but refused to look at the letters, saying we needed permission from the Ministry of Tourism. One person said the ministry was firing many people and they did not want to lose their jobs.
The head of the regional corporation, after being contacted, then tried to call the manager without success. After a while the manager left without even suggesting a way forward for us or even engaging in conversation.
But isn't the manager’s role to address any situations that may arise on the premises? She clearly ignored us, stated her personal views and left.
At that point any attempt to seek permission from the Tourism Ministry would have been futile because our two-hour window had closed already. A wasted day.
So, do the police not have powers during the state of emergency? Does the Police Commissioner's office have no clout with granting permissions?
Another interesting fact is that the fisherman Campbell, who sets out to fish from Vessigny Beach, is unable to access his boat and so is unable to make a living since the beach closure. He says the people at the facility are not allowing him to remove his boat, in spite of several attempts made by him to do so.
We are aware the public cannot go on the beach without permission at this time. We got that permission but were still denied access. What's going on at Vessigny Beach?