[Photo] Hampstead Beach, one of the beaches where Pirates of the Caribbean II & III were filmed, Dominica, W.I.Hampstead, Dominica
BATIBOU BEACH ‘OWNER’ BLOWS UP A STORM |
Updated January 29, 2022, at 16:20.
UPDATE | Magistrate, Bernard Paquette, sets hearing for, April 29th, 2022.
It had been brought to our attention that several members of the public have been summoned to court to answer charges relating to trespassing on a well known beauty spot in Dominica’s scenic North coast. In a video, captioned ‘Live outside the Court House at Wesley’ Emonews reported that a female member of the Douglas family has brought several persons from the surrounding community to court for trespassing on ‘her’ land, and for bathing in ‘her’ river.
The Douglas family is one of the largest landowners in the north of the island. Hampstead Estate, which in the 18th century, for 60 years, was the site of where former slave owners owned hundreds of slaves. By the 1930s, ownership of the Estate fell into the hands of the McIntyre family. Financial difficulties led to the government seizing the estate, which Robert Douglas, returning from working on the oil refineries at Aruba and Curacao during the 2nd world War, bought the estate in 1946. According to Lennox Honychurch, the approximately 600-acre estate, was purchased by Douglas for £1/ per acre, which is equivalent to £44.62 (2022) at the average inflation rate of 5.12% per year between 1946 and today. Dominica’s 4th prime minister, the former Black power activist and politician, the late Rosie Douglas, who lead the Dominica Labour Party to a return power in 2000, was one of 16 descendants and heirs to the estate of which the Hampstead River is at the center of this issue.
According to online sources, several plots of the estate are up for sale. In particular, a one acre plot of “sloping portion of land on the northeast of the island, within walking distance to a sandy beach” listed for the going price of USD $55,800. According to the source. “[the] land bounds with dirt road with utilities available on site. It is also bounded with a popular guest house.” The Dominica constitution states that the Hampstead River falls under the Paix Bouche constituency in the parish of St. Andrew.
According to Emonews, the parliamentary representative, the Hon.Roselyn Paul has been notified of the matter with no response reported to date. In my opinion, journalist need to find her wherever she is, and ask her for a response to what is happening in her patch of the country. Also the Chief Agricultural Officer, and the Forestry Division, should be able to give guidance on this matter. What about the roads that pass through Hampstead, will people now have to pay a toll to pass through?
This is utter nonsense.
This reminds me of the 1970s when young man were jailed for stealing one coconut in Grandbay. I can remember as a youth living in Bense, a small village that borders on the estate, and bathing frequently in the Hampstead River and the famous Batibou Beach. I have never heard of anyone prohibiting persons to bath in the river or the sea of that area.”During British colonial rule, a sugar factory was powered by water and operated near the banks of the Hampstead River” (Wikipedia)
Setting the precedent
This has already set a precedent that the police would entertain a complaint against a member of the public for trespassing to what hitherto, for years has been regarded as a public access area. In the 18th -century, surveyors made allowance for a strip of land three chains wide along the entire coast of the island. This was known as the King’s Three chains. According to Dominica’s historian, Lennox Honychurch, writing in Slave Valleys, Peasant Ridge, ” because it was set aside for the government to construct any necessary building or fortifications. In the years immediately following emancipation it was on these “three chains” that hundreds of newly liberated citizens, particularly on the west coast, sought to establish their squatter shacks which has led to the crowded nature of villages such as Massacre, Mahaut and St.Joseph,” he wrote.
According to the Facebook page, Embrace Dominica, there is already a nominal charge for accessing the Batibou beach.
This case brings to mind the Shillingford v Attorney-General of 1968 in which, “The lands claimed by the respondent comprise certain parcels of the Queen’s Three Chains and six parcels of land, of which four lie to the south and west and the remaining two to the north, of the 290 acres of land which the respondent alleged alone compose the Batalie Estate and of which the respondent by his statement of claim conceded the ownership to the appellant.”
According to the source, “The learned trial judge found in effect that the respondent had established his case that Dr. John Imray at the date of his death in August 1880 had a documentary title in respect of the Batalie estate only to the lands shown as coloured on the plan “ Ex. 29A”, that is 292 acres.”
I would be puzzled if this situation was not settled once and for all for the benefits of citizens, residents and tourist as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, in an update from Emonews, on Friday revealed, that the registered proprietors of the Hampstead Estate, Arbeedee Limited, have distanced themselves from the claimant, according to a letter that was read out in the courtroom in Wesley. According to Emonews, the Board of Directors, “confirmed that they have not initiated nor given permission to any person to initiate a claim on their behalf.”
The letter also stated, according to the source, that “any person who is a party to a claim without having proof of ownership or permission to act on their behalf, is not acting under their authority.”
The matter, which was heard by Magistrate, Bernard Paquette, was adjourned to April 29th, 2022 to allow the claimants time to ”seek permission from the board of directors to continue with the claim,” as per the request of the claimant, the update from Emonews said.
Details of Estate | Legacies of British Slavery (1787). Available at: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/estate/view/1228 (Accessed: 28 January 2022).
Hampstead, Dominica – Wikipedia (2022). Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hampstead,_Dominica (Accessed: 28 January 2022).
Shillingford v Attorney-General (2022). Available at: https://dominica.vlex.com/…/shillingford-v-attorney… (Accessed: 28 January 2022). Valleys, Peasant Ridges: (2022). Available at: https://www.open.uwi.edu/…/confe…/papers/Honychurch.html (Accessed: 28 January 2022).
[Photo] Hampstead Beach, one of the beaches where Pirates of the Caribbean II & III were filmed, Dominica, W.I.Hampstead, Dominica – Wikipedia (2022). Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hampstead,_Dominica (Accessed: 28 January 2022).10People reached7Engagements–Distribution scoreBoost post
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Estates | Legacies of British Slavery (2022). Available at: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/estates/ (Accessed: 28 January 2022).
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Slave Valleys, Peasant Ridges: (2022). Available at: https://www.open.uwi.edu/sites/default/files/bnccde/dominica/conference/papers/Honychurch.html (Accessed: 28 January 2022).
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Plan of the island of Dominica laid down by actual survey under the direction of the honorable the commissioners for the sale of lands in the ceded islands by John Byres chief surveyor 1776 (2022). Available at: https://jcb.lunaimaging.com/luna/servlet/detail/JCBMAPS~1~1~3334~101611:Plan-of-the-island-of-Dominica-laid?fbclid=IwAR02NGGValt06mv8l9pqtbM4HdVoUm5hdpcHObmQUwV0OpOlhd9G4iXx7AM (Accessed: 29 January 2022).
Plan of the island of Dominica laid down by actual survey under the direction of the honorable the commissioners for the sale of lands in the ceded islands by John Byres chief surveyor 1776 (2022). Available at: https://jcb.lunaimaging.com/luna/servlet/detail/JCBMAPS~1~1~3334~101611:Plan-of-the-island-of-Dominica-laid?fbclid=IwAR1VsRk90D-7qnKZo8yD0hVVVuCkLWLk0r-KHBbCm5Xw1OW_-jsXWNWQNfs (Accessed: 29 January 2022).
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Reaching for the Top – the Extraordinary Life of Robert Bernard Douglas. by Mcintyre, Euphemie und Irving Andre: (2022). Available at: https://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=30670363163&cm_sp=rec-_-pd_hw_i_1-_-bdp&reftag=pd_hw_i_1 (Accessed: 29 January 2022).
Update Re: Court Matter at Wesley concerning trespass at Hampstead Estate(2022). Available at: https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=476397897186534&set=a.474189867407337 (Accessed: 29 January 2022).
History of Anse de mai, Anse sol dat and Bense by Dr.Lennox HonyChurch (2022). Available at: https://www.facebook.com/EmoNewsDominica/videos/1162542144163345 (Accessed: 30 January 2022).
£1 in 1946 → 2022 | UK Inflation Calculator (2022). Available at: https://www.in2013dollars.com/uk/inflation/1946?amount=1 (Accessed: 30 January 2022).