An Update On the Beach Policy

I recently got a wake-up email from a friend, which propelled me to ask for a repeat interview with Gino Winklaar, the Noord district Chief of Police.

But first the email: Rona, it would be good to do a follow up on the Beach Policy. Clearly a lot of hoopla after that one video posted, but since then, after January 21st, when we first saw the Special Task Force taking inventory, nothing happened. As you know, complaints keep coming in at the Beach Police, but it seems that zero gets done.

It is all inter-related between four ministries, Infrastructure, Justice, Tourism and Finance. The beach needs all four to collaborate, a good question would be: “Who is managing this?”


Armed with the questions — who is managing this, how’s your hammock — I listened to the Noord Chief of Police advocating a bit more patience.

No, they did not crawl back into their hammocks. There are no hammocks at the police headquarters in Noord. But following their TWELVE-HOUR beach walk, with ten different government agencies from four ministries, including their legal advisors, the Special Task Force now needs to review the documents and permits of 43 beach vendors, each with a different set of papers, some partial, some complete.

Chief Winklaar volunteered to lead the task force, since no one else seemed to want the job, and he is doing it part-time in addition to his regular work load, namely, defending law and order in his district and the tourist areas.

Chief Winklaar is very charming and well-spoken.  According to him, every case is different and eventually a uniform document spelling out all rules and regulations for beach vending will be compiled. It will be presented to all 43 entities involved, and will have to be adhered to.

“We cannot rush,” the chief explains,” some are easy wins, and will be relocated or downsized, but some are complicated legal cases, where vendors have been tolerated on the beach for a long time, getting away with illegal souvenir stands, and illegal food & beverage outlets. These cases need to be studied from all angles before we move in, otherwise they will not hold up in court, and I can assure you, we will end up in court for many; some could be settled amicably.”

So, now you know. We have a task force, under the leadership of Chief Winklaar. They already had four successful meetings. They are proceeding with caution, so cases will stick. He is committed, he doesn’t want to fail, it is a major undertaking, the first one in 50 years, it’s a legal haystack, there were many concessions made, special arrangements tolerated a long time, he needs reasonable time to sift through the stuff, the goal is to have a uniform permit with all rules and regulations, so the groundwork is laid for the MinInfra’s “three strikes and you’re out,” decree.

I asked for a legal opinion from a Legal Eagle. My lawyer girlfriend totally defended the chief’s position. According to her the current government did not do well in the few court cases already held because they went into court with the premise that all concessions made by the previous government were illegal political favors and as such nil and void.

The judge sent them packing, because according to him even squatters have rights, and that political favor premise cannot hold water, solid legal arguments have to be presented instead. No whining, please, do your homework.

So, that’s the story. We must be patient. Fifty years of chaos. What’s another few??


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February 26, 2018
Rona Coster