Salybia

Salybia Bay. Source: Iere Eye Aerial Photography (Facebook)

A village has sprung up on the once-pristine beach front at Salybia Bay in Toco, outraging many who visit the area.

The beach has been settled by people building homes, camps and businesses among the trees and next to the lifeguard tower.

Fishing pirogues are also now anchored along the shoreline.

It has led to a demand for the authorities to intervene and remove the structures to allow bathers access.

However, according to councillor for the area, Terry Rondon, nothing can be done about it.

Rondon, former chairman of the Sangre Grade Regional Corporation, told the Express on Friday that the area in question is not State owned, but is the property of a family living outside of Trinidad.

As a result, the State can do nothing.

“Salybia is currently owned by the Wharton estate. We at the corporation clean up the place because people come and we want to make a good impression. However, there is nothing we can do infrastructure-wise,” said Rondon.

“A lot of funds have been allocated for that place. For 24 years, I have been lobbying the Government, writing letters and asking for the purchase of that area. With every administration they come and go and nothing has been done. I believe once they were in talks with the owner but nothing has come of it,” he explained.

Commenters blamed the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation for the structures on the beach front, some of which are connected for electricity.

However, Rondon, who was chairman of the corporation for six years, said he would like nothing more than for the situation to be dealt with.

“I am asking for the Government to do something. Right now their options are to purchase the land or to have an emergency evacuation. Something has to be done because it is becoming a shanty town.”

He also said that the presence of unauthorised washroom facilities would eventually pose a threat to the well- being of visitors.

“This is an epidemic waiting to happen. There is no control of the toilet systems in that area. Everything is going back into the sea. Apart from the permanent structures there, when persons come on the shores to camp out, they abandon whatever they don’t need when they leave. Even though it is not our jurisdiction, the corporation and CEPEP go in and clean up after these people. I pray for the day that the corporation can properly man that beach,” he said.

According to Rondon, the beach front is equally crowded with the boats of fishermen who claim that nearby facilities are unsafe and not up to standard.

Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Clarence Rhambarath told the Express on Friday that a visit to the area was scheduled to address this problem.

“I intend to make a site visit to see what support the Commissioner of State Lands can give, along with our Fisheries Division,” he said.

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