~ State and COM said no permits were issued to block public beaches.~
MARIGOT/PHILIPSBURG:--- A businessman at La Samana Hotel identified as Craig has illegally blocked off the access to a public beach claiming he has received authorization from the state and local government to block off the beach for his private use.
A net has been placed in the water preventing chartered boats and tourists from accessing the beach behind La Samana. “Several boat captains that operate chartered tours told SMN News that Craig informed them that they are not allowed to enter behind La Samana beach because they were granted permission to privatize the beach for their own operations.
SMN News contacted the Prefecture of Saint Martin requesting information regarding the permission given to Craig, the American businessman, The communication department said that La Samana and the businessman were not given any permission to block off the beaches that are public beaches.
The Prefecture further stated explained that the Directorate of the Sea and National Gendarmerie has asked La Samana to remove the net they illegally placed in the sea to stop chartered boat entry.
SMN News also contacted first Vice President Bernadette Davis for a comment and to see if the Collectivity of Saint Martin has granted authorization to the businessman. Davis who is currently off-island said that she did not sign any permits to allow the blocking of any public beaches.
Davis also explained that all beaches on St. Martin are public and while the Collectivity is responsible for cleaning the beaches no permits were given out since she has taken office.