By: Thaimu Bai Sesay

In a joint effort between the National Tourist Board and the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, a press release dated March 26, 2024, has shed light on the ongoing demolition of beach bars along the Lumley beachfront in Sierra Leone. The authorities have addressed the growing concerns over this initiative by providing a detailed account of the necessity and process behind the demolition exercise.

According to the National Tourist Board, extensive sensitization efforts preceded the demolition, spanning various mediums such as radio, TV appearances, public announcements, direct engagement sessions, and press releases. These activities commenced in September 2023 and have continued to date, with multiple notifications sent to affected beach bar operators regarding the impending restructuring.

The Board highlighted the involvement of stakeholders, including the Lumley Beach Bar Association and the Land Developers Association, in endorsing the government’s plan to restructure the beachfront. Structures were categorized based on adherence to Beachfront Guidelines, targeting those obstructing beach views, lacking sandy beach access, deemed substandard or illegal, among other criteria.

The demolition process was outlined in three phases: targeting substandard and shanty structures in Phase 1, followed by illegal beach bars in Phase 2, and concluding with concrete or storey-like structures in Phase 3. Operators of structures falling under Phase 3 were given a one-month grace period to comply with guidelines before facing demolition.

Thus far, sixty-six out of 130 beach bars and restaurants have been demolished during the initial phases of the exercise. The authorities reiterated their commitment to executing the demolition in a fair and just manner to facilitate sustainable tourism development in Sierra Leone.

The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, in collaboration with the National Tourist Board, reassured the public that the demolition process aligns with efforts to enhance the tourism landscape while ensuring compliance with established regulations.

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