On the heels of the Prime Minister’s call to limit gatherings to ten people or less, the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) has closed access to the peninsula’s major beaches at Macqueripe, Williams Bay and Chagville.
The announcement also followed the immediate closure of the popular Caura River.
In a release Thursday, the CDA said the move became necessary as it was reported that despite the call by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, the Macqueripe Beach was crowded as members of the public rushed to take advantage of the self-quarantine period.
But this was in direct contrast to mid-morning checks at Caura River, where the area was deserted except for a small group of CEPEP workers.
When Guardian Media arrived at Pool One around 9 am, concrete barriers had been placed at the main vehicular entrance to prevent motorists from accessing the river. It was a similar situation at Pool Two.
CEPEP workers Damion Phillip and Keisha Hinds said the barriers at both pools were put down around 10.30 pm on Wednesday.
Expressing appreciation for the peace and quiet yesterday morning, the two said they actually heard the chirping birds.
Phillips, who has been living in the area for the past two years, said, “I am really loving how they blocked the roads, because we used to get problems with people wanting to play their loud music all hours, parking close to our homes and you can’t sleep.
“We could get a little ease now with the music and garbage people does be leaving all over. We are thankful because Caroni could get a little clean now.”
Hinds, who has been living in the area for the past years, said, “I feel a 100 per cent safer in here because of the shutdown, there won’t be any crowds coming here to lime anymore.”
They said Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein and MP Esmond Forde visited the area around 7 am to ensure there were no bathers at the river and praised the Government’s move to officially close the river, as they said it would reduce the water pollution and garbage often left behind by users.
CDA officials meanwhile said their decision was in keeping with the call that social gatherings should not exceed more than ten, a reduction from 25 initially. It is hoped the move will be a positive step towards stemming the spread of the virus.
The Macqueripe, Williams Bay and Chagville beaches are three popular recreational sites which attract many beachgoers on a weekly basis. The CDA said it will be working with the Carenage police and the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force in ensuring continuous patrols within the Chaguaramas peninsula.
Similarly, the CDA said it is enforcing its civic responsibility by also ensuring that all bars, restaurants and other similar tenants within the peninsula accede to the new virus protocol.
The CDA also announced a suspension of all tours and organised activities at its recreational parks and open spaces until further notice.
Speaking at yesterday’s post-Cabinet media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, National Security Minister Stuart Young said the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation also yesterday blocked the road leading to the Caura River.
He warned, “This does not mean that people should park their cars on the road and trek all the way in.”
Young said he was also notified by the CDA, “That they have taken a decision...and they have closed public access to their beaches.”
He commended them as he said, “I think that is a good move in the right direction.”
He said other regional corporations would “take similar determinations.”
Contacted afterwards, however, Rural Development and Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein said he had contacted the municipal corporations and the 14 police commanders from each corporation were given instructions to monitor popular beaches and rivers across the country.
“We have not taken a decision to close off anything as yet,” Hosein said.