Michelmore on Warwick Long Bay Application

October 22, 2010

[Written by Dr Katherine Michelmore, Deputy Leader and Spokesperson for BDA on the Environment]

I note with concern that Mr. Belcario Thomas has resubmitted an application to build a beach bar at Warwick Long Bay. The history of this business venture is now well documented, it being over 2 years since the original application was submitted in April 2008.

The original plan was turned down by the Department of Planning when over 100 local residents objected, but was granted on Appeal to the Minister Glen Blakeney. This led to a widespread public action campaign to express the desire to protect Warwick Long Bay from commercial development, and a petition with thousands of signatures was presented to Government. As is unfortunately frequently the case in Bermuda, the public appeal fell on deaf ears, and it was necessary for the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce to take the matter to court to appeal the unreasonableness of the Minister’s decision.

DSC03768

The courts found in favour of BEST’s case and ruled against the Minister’s decision. This took considerable time, effort, and cost on the part of BEST, and also was at the taxpayers expense on the part of the Government.

To read of a new application published in the Bermuda Sun today does speak perhaps to blind determination on the part of Mr. Thomas, but also to a Government who is blatantly prepared to dismiss public concerns. This re-application indicates that Mr. Thomas has again been granted permission to use public land. No details regarding any tendering process or any details of the lease under which these arrangements have been made have been publicly disclosed. There has been no public comment from the Government with regard to the fact that the National Parks Commission objected to the original application, and the Minister decided to over-ride their objections. There has also been no public comment from the Government as to the intention for a bar to be opened within a public park, when the Liquor Licence Act specifically prohibits this.

Warwick Long Bay is an unspoilt National Park and as such is a National Treasure. It deserves to be protected, and any development must be subject to public discussion, due process, and absolute transparency on the part of the Government. I fear that this was sorely lacking during the first application. I intend to review the application at the Department of Planning and encourage other residents to do the same.

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Comments (28)

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  1. Call as it is says:

    Strikes me there’s something underhand about all this.
    hopefully the first bad storm will take it away and teach him a lesson!!
    Mwahahahahahaa!

  2. Anthony says:

    Bermuda has gone to the dogs anyway might as well build bars,when the world is running down u take the best of what’s still around! Nobody cares that’s the problem

  3. Dragging A Lure says:

    What is wrong with you people. You accept the courts decision when they ruled in favour of BEST. Yet you refuse to respect, that Mr.Thomas, has the legal right to due process while pursuing his case further in the court of law. Are you afraid of losing? Most of your Party’s statements still indicate that you are still an artery of the UBP. No substance, just negative response after reading the Daily Rag. (You are so stupid that believing that the courts ruling against the minister is a decision against Mr.Thomas desire to have a business at the same location).The lawyers in your party should advise you before you go public.

    • Toni says:

      Wow! “Dragging” you’re a wee bit angry aren’t we? The issue is not that the applicant doesn’t have certain legal rights, rather that an open and transparent due process was completely disregarded with this application by the Minister….the case would never have made it to court without the Minister’s intervention. The application was rejected at every other level……notwithstanding that I feel the project not at all appropriate – it apparently couldn’t get approval on it’s own merits! lol!

      Toni (not a pen name!)

      • Dragging A Lure says:

        Toni,
        Whether you have a pen name or not is irrelevant to this discussion. We will wait and see the courts judgement. The decision will be based on the applicant’s constitutional right to form and operate a legitimate business on a plot of land that is not solely designated for a particuliar group of people and their ideals. The objectors will also have their day in court. The decision will not be based on the noise created from The Minister’s intervention, or a lack of transparency, or whether the project is appropriate or not, or the local politics in the Planning Department or the petition that was signed by a group of angry people that can’t wait to march on Parliament again. You and your group are the angry ones, check the expressions of yourselves when highlighted in the media. Are you still afraid regarding the next stage of due process. Your emotions does not have any impact on my thoughts regarding the outcome of a future court decision. I believe in the democratic process that all of us including Mr. Thomas and yourselves have available to them when required.

        Have a great weekend.

        • Toni says:

          Angry? Yes many in the group are. And disgusted and frustrated – and rightly so – due process and transparency was completely flaunted at EVERY step of this application…….BEST has had to fight with both hands tied behind it’s back – but thankfully still won the first round. So we are agreed on at least one thing – the want for not having the decision usurped by the Minister and his “discretion” and to allow proper due process…..

          Toni

          • Dragging A Lure says:

            Toni,
            I must take this opportunity to say how brave you are for addmitting that Mr. Thomas has the right to do what he is doing. I hope that the rest of your group appreciates and respects “due process and due diligence” and don’t hang you out to dry for expressing the view that Mr. Thomas does have constitutional rights to advance his case to a higher level.Your words-(So we are agreed on at least one thing – the want for not having the decision usurped by the Minister and his “discretion” and to allow proper due process….)

            Cheers and Good Luck

        • Scott says:

          funny. i remember our good ol’ premier use a line like that..

          how did it go? “it’s unethical, but not illegal”?

          just because there is a constitutional right, does not mean its a good idea or should be done.

    • Chop Sui says:

      For your information, I am a plp supporter and I openly oppose the building of a bar on our beaches. We also have the legal right to voice our disgust and disapproval of the move. No one has broken the law here nor denied anyone’s legal right to due process so why not just go ahead and shut on up!

      • Dragging A Lure says:

        Chop Sui,
        Who cares what party you support. Who ever said a law was broken. The discussion is on the next level Mr. Thomas will forward his case.Bernews provides us with the capacity to express our views and concerns on any subject that they print and I’m greatful for that opportunity. Since I believe in freedom of speech without providing injury to others. I respect your opinion even though you want others to shut on up.( No one has broken the law here nor denied anyone’s legal right to due process so why not just go ahead and shut on up!)

  4. LaVerne Furbert says:

    Toni,

    Part of “due process” is having the Minister using his discretion through a Special Development Order (SDO). SDOs weren’t created by the current Minister. Maybe we need to change the law regarding SDOs. I believe Mr. Thomas has every right to try and realise his dream, BEST or not.

    • Chop Sui says:

      I have a dream of a drug free Bermuda and beaches without bars on them. As a Bermudian I have every right to try and realise my dream, BELCARIO or not. FAIR GAME!!!
      PS. PLP supporter

      • D says:

        I have a dream of enjoying a nice drink on the Beach and partying with tourists. Just like I did when I was abroad. We should be able to enjoy the pleasures of the world to the fullest.

    • Sara says:

      Sorry, Laverne,

      A minister should only approve an SDO for an emergency situation. Look up why SDO’s are supposed to be in place. PUTTING BARS on a beach hardly qualifies the need for an SDO. How ridiculous that a minister would even stoop so low. He is a joke and doesn’t know squat about the environment.

  5. Consider the costs says:

    Subject to this application being substantially different to the previous, based on the earlier rejections (save for the Minister’s), Mr. Thomas needs to realize that he is now causing damage to his reputation. Just because he has the legal right to do something does not necessarily mean he should pursue those rights to the hilt. It would appear he has not sufficiently considered the costs of exercising his rights, whether this application succeeds or fails. Fundamentally the application’s concept is being rejected, regardless of the form.

    I would suggest that Mr. Thomas look to consulting existing venues that offer waterfront dining and drinking with a view to improving their product. Based on his past endeavors, Mr. Thomas clearly has some good ideas and entrepreneurial spirit – both of which are great for Bermuda’s economy and set a positive example for young Bermudians – however his product development methodology could be improved with more consultation with concerned parties at an earlier stage to filter out non-starters such as this. The costs to the community and to Mr. Thomas will be less if such research is conducted. I do wish him well though in future projects and hope that other Bermudians with similar goals will learn from this.

  6. LOL says:

    @ Dragging,

    If you don’t care about what party politics why do you mention it in your earlier post? Your racism is showing as you apparently believe all BEST supporters are white and Uncle Toms. Your politics of division should come to an end as you may find that in order to build a country a consensus must be across all the people. The public sees you as nothing but a propagandist. Telling who else from the Party has commented on this small issue.

    Tried the PLP could not get passed the hate.

  7. Dragging A Lure says:

    LOL,
    I’m going to attach all the previous posts that I have contributed to this news event. All of the posts have identical themes based on Mr. Thomas legal right to take his case a another level.I would love for you to support your description of me with the evidence from the posts.

    Post #1:October 22, 2010 at 8:40 pm
    What is wrong with you people. You accept the courts decision when they ruled in favour of BEST. Yet you refuse to respect, that Mr.Thomas, has the legal right to due process while pursuing his case further in the court of law. Are you afraid of losing? Most of your Party’s statements still indicate that you are still an artery of the UBP. No substance, just negative response after reading the Daily Rag. (You are so stupid that believing that the courts ruling against the minister is a decision against Mr.Thomas desire to have a business at the same location).

    Post #2 Toni,
    Whether you have a pen name or not is irrelevant to this discussion. We will wait and see the courts judgement. The decision will be based on the applicant’s constitutional right to form and operate a legitimate business on a plot of land that is not solely designated for a particuliar group of people and their ideals. The objectors will also have their day in court. The decision will not be based on the noise created from The Minister’s intervention, or a lack of transparency, or whether the project is appropriate or not, or the local politics in the Planning Department or the petition that was signed by a group of angry people that can’t wait to march on Parliament again. You and your group are the angry ones, check the expressions of yourselves when highlighted in the media. Are you still afraid regarding the next stage of due process. Your emotions does not have any impact on my thoughts regarding the outcome of a future court decision. I believe in the democratic process that all of us including Mr. Thomas and yourselves have available when required.

    Post# 3:Toni,
    I must take this opportunity to say how brave you are for addmitting that Mr. Thomas has the right to do what he is doing. I hope that the rest of your group appreciates and respects “due process and due diligence” and don’t hang you out to dry for expressing the view that Mr. Thomas does have constitutional rights to advance his case to a higher level.Your words-(So we are agreed on at least one thing – the want for not having the decision usurped by the Minister and his “discretion” and to allow proper due process….)

    Cheers and Good Luck

    Post # 4: Chop Sui,
    Who cares what party you support. Who ever said a law was broken. The discussion is on the next level Mr. Thomas will forward his case.Bernews provides us with the capacity to express our views and concerns on any subject that they print and I’m greatful for that opportunity. Since I believe in freedom of speech without providing injury to others. I respect your opinion even though you want others to shut on up. Your Words( No one has broken the law here nor denied anyone’s legal right to due process so why not just go ahead and shut)

    LOL stand up to the batters box and prove that my posts descibe me as you stated.

    Good Luck

  8. LOL says:

    @Dragging

    Done.

    “Most of your Party’s statements still indicate that you are still an artery of the UBP. No substance, just negative response after reading the Daily Rag.”

    How do you know what party the individuals in BEST supports is it an assumption or a feeling.

    I also believe you contribute to the Sun I will find links if necessary and or your comments.
    It out-of-here.

    LOL

  9. LOL says:

    @Dragging

    Done.

    “Most of your Party’s statements still indicate that you are still an artery of the UBP. No substance, just negative response after reading the Daily Rag.”

    How do you know what party the individuals in BEST supports is it an assumption or just a feeling?

    I also believe you contribute to the Sun I will find links if necessary.

    Its-out-here!

    LOL

    • Dragging A Lure says:

      LOL,
      Can you take time out and discuss the issues that I raised concerning the legal rights that Mr. Thomas has at his disposal. Does he have those rights or not? My initial response was to the speculative statement presented by the Deputy Leader and Spokeperson for the BDA Party. I have not responded to BEST also when necessary I use Dragging A Lure in The Bermuda Sun and I love it. So save yourself some trouble. What is the problem? Deal with the issue regarding legal rights for Mr. Thomas. Every thing else is a distraction and loud unnecessary noises. Furthermore the tea kettle should not call the frying pan black. You get the drift. You’re really ticked off because you fail to understand what is going on. (Smile)

      • Scott says:

        you know you could just use the penname “troll” and save yourself a few keystrokes

        • Dragging A Lure says:

          Kudos Scott,
          Thought about it. To obvious.The thing about it, I,ve accomplished my objective. LOL was easy prey. Read the reply, all name calling.

          Thanks for the advise

          • LOL says:

            @Dragging

            I think Scott was talking about you after all another way to say your name is Trolling. Your right though it was all to easy to debunk you “easy prey indeed.”

            Hence
            LOL

  10. D says:

    I am an Environmentalist and it saddens me that our issues are being hijacked by politial parties. We should have a beach bar.

    I’d be there every week. BEST is another one of those organisations that does more harm than good. FTR, there also is not a lot of diversity in this group either.

    Let this man grow his entreprenurial ambitions, and stop holding people back.

    • LOL says:

      Hi D,

      We do have a beach bar its in St. Georges;) You want to put a bar next to a Kids playground WTF!? Sorry good idea wrong place. Besides what insurrance company is going to insure such a place did you not see the damage after the last hurrican and if the structure is temporary who foots the clean up bill when he want to open up again. This is public land we are talking about here.

      I suppose you were for Southlands to. As an enviormentalist you must want to protect land not trash it righ? You and I both know what that beach will look like with a bar on in.

      LOL

    • Sara says:

      Yeah, you’re an environmentalist and you say an environmentalist group does more harm than good? What are you smoking? BEST is why their is no hospital on Botanical Gardens(bet you forgot about that stupid idea), BEST is why Southlands will stay as it is. Word to the wise their buddy NO TRUE environmentalist would say “let this man grow his entrepreneurial ambitions” over protecting the environment. Mr. Thomas is very well off and has done very well for himself. Don’t think this beach bar will make him or break him. People are just WOW

  11. LOL says:

    @ Dragging

    So I am right about you then thanks for the clarity for the record. LOL. Bye the way I do not think I have said anything about anyones legal rights here, care to find the post? I have stated that this is public land we are talking about. As far as you trying to paint me as a racist, please. You through your own words have proven that you are the pot and the kettle so keep talking to your self but MAWI might have something to say about that. Everyone has rights but everyone does not have the right to do anything they want to do, agreed?

    PS I’m not mad I’m LOL ;)

  12. The chalk-white sands of the Turks and Caicos Islands aren’t just great for swimming, relaxing and lounging around. They’re also blessed with some truly good beach bars, particularly on the island of Providenciales.

    WHAT THE TOURISTS WANT…..

    http://www.caribjournal.com/2014/04/18/9-beach-bars-in-providenciales-turks-and-caicos/

    Belcario Thomas ran into a BRICK WALL at WARWICK LONG BAY
    http://bernews.com/2011/01/warwick-long-bay-beach-bar-refused-again/
    http://bernews.com/2010/10/michelmore-on-warwick-long-bay-application/