Category Beach Entrance

Lack of information and communication by authorities creates confusion and disarray in the bay.

Akumal Bay is in a state of uncertainty as well as disarray.

The declaration of the Refuge for Protected Marine Species and with that a new bay management plan now being enforced has created many problems and issues which in turn is confusing and bewildering to those visiting the bay.

The authorities have not implemented any signs, maps or any visual informational to help inform the visitors once they arrive. Additionally, the general public including Mexican nationals, guests of the hotels and resorts and rental properties are unaware that there are government authorities and other monitors in the bay and when someone approaches them when they are already in the water, they naturally react with doubt and reservation as to who the person is.

It does not help the situation either that for the past year at least there have again been groups of guides from several of the tour operator cooperatives that are now “bay monitors”. Many of these are the very same individuals from the former “Vigilance Committee” of the summer/fall of 2016 that were stalking and extorting visitors to take a tour. They were very convincing with their official looking green shirts or “bay patrol” shirts but in fact they were not any legal authority and many were reported for their actions and bad behavior towards tourists.

All of this has been circulating around in social media and over time has had very detrimental effects to Akumal tourism. Anyone that has access to these pages and have either been following the history of these events or are hearing about these incidents for the first time, would naturally be leery of ANYONE approaching them, especially when they are already in the water…let alone consider even coming to Akumal.

In a perfect world, proper informative signage with maps in English and Spanish would be placed in several strategic and visible locations in Akumal, including the beach. An effort would be put into proper training for these patrols that would include better methods to engage visitors such as basic customer service protocols, conflict resolution and that any personnel tasked with these monitoring responsibilities have good communication skills.

The government officials should speak English at the very least but if their decision is to enlist local guides, then they need to also have proper training and be able to communicate effectively (just not speak) in English. They have been sent out on a mission without the tools to carry out the mission!

And to make an effort to try to be polite and professional even educational to visitors would go a long way.

There should be visual aids by way of signage letting people know what the rules are BEFORE they enter the water. There should be someone available to answer questions or doubts. None of this is in place, but we are hopeful that it will be and very soon. The business and property owners of the bay have been requesting this from the authorities and showing them evidence of how a management plan can go very wrong if not monitored correctly.

So one wonders why there is so much conflict now with the present “vigilance committee” of Akumal Bay? And consequently, the actual government officials should be wondering why they are getting a negative reaction from tourists when they approach them…because there in fact is indeed the source of the issues plain and simple.

Authority Confirms, No Public Access through Club Akumal Caribe

The following note was published in both PorEsto! and Novedades yesterday. Below is a translation.

THE AUTHORITY CONFIRMS THERE IS NO PUBLIC ACCESS THROUGH CLUB AKUMAL CARIBE.

ANYONE STATING CONTRARY TO THIS TRUTH IS LYING.

Some groups of Akumal are lying to manipulate public opinion and the people of Akumal when they say that the property of CLUB AKUMAL CARIBE SA DE CV is in litigation.

What they say and publish is completely “FALSE AND WITHOUT REASON.” The property of Club Akumal Caribe, S.A. of C.V. is not and has never been in litigation.

To understand the falsehoods and lies, it is important to understand the meaning of the word “litigation.” Litigation is a legal discussion before a Superior Judicial Body. The above should not be confused with “conflict” since to deny that there is a conflict would be a waste of time. However, the conflict that exists is caused by the inaction on the part of the Municipality of Tulum to enable the windows to the sea stipulated in the Program of Urban Development of Akumal 2007-2032.

The only thing that is in dispute is the constitutionality of the agreement of the Seventy-Fourth Ordinary Session of the previous Town Council of the Municipality of Tulum, Quintana Roo, held on August 29, 2016…which by the way was their last session.

The previous cabildo (town council) issued its agreement without giving any warning to Club Akumal Caribe when it had the legal duty to give a written notice to the legitimate owner of the property that was under study. This would have allowed the property the possibility to exhibit all the documents and elements of necessary proof and verify their rights and not leave it in a state of being defenseless, as in fact did happen at the moment they dictated the mentioned agreement of the previous cabildo.

Likewise, the act of the previous cabildo violates the constitutional rights enjoyed by all Mexicans. As established in Article 14 of the Constitution, it guarantees that “No one shall be deprived of liberty or property, possessions or rights, except through trial before the courts previously established in which the essential procedural formalities are complied with and in accordance with the laws issued prior to the fact.”

In addition to the above, on February 13, 2017 an official survey was issued (study for the delimitation of terrestrial surfaces) within the Research folder: FGE / QR / AMPTUL / UITUL / 09/17/2016, carried out at the request of the C. Agent of the Public Ministry of the Common Jurisdiction in Tulum, Quintana Roo, which confirms and demonstrates that within the property of the Club Akumal Caribe…THERE DOES NOT EXIST AND NEVER HAS EXISTED AN ACCESS OR PUBLIC PATH TOWARDS FEDERAL ZONE.

As a result of this official document, the agent of the Public Ministry of the Common Jurisdiction of the Municipality of Tulum granted an Order of Protection in favor of CLUB AKUMAL CARIBE SA DE CV.

Unfortunately, this order has not been complied with by the General Directorate of Public Security of the Municipality of Tulum, a situation that has generated more conflicts and intimidation on the part of some groups with personal interests and against CACSA staff as well as the repeated harassment of local visitors and foreign tourists who visit us, these occurring inside the same property of Club Akumal Caribe and before the complacency of the Municipal Police officers on duty who are supposed to protect the safety of the property.

Something very important that we have the moral obligation to clarify is that, “THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN FREE ACCESS TO THE BEACH FOR ALL QUINTANAROENSE THROUGH THE UKANA I AKUMAL A.C. (CEA) AS WELL AS THROUGH THE 7 WINDOWS TO THE SEA ESTABLISHED IN PDU 2007-2032. “

However, it is completely false that “within” the property of Club Akumal Caribe exists or has ever existed a public access or a window of access to the sea as some groups with personal interests want to believe.

The inhabitants of the municipality of Tulum and especially the people of Akumal deserve to know the truth.

It is not fair that by false information of certain irresponsible groups the peace and tranquility of our people is disturbed. CLUB AKUMAL CARIBE only asks that what is right is respected, as legitimate owners…but above all, that irresponsible groups and the Municipal Authorities and the City of Tulum reconsider and act within the legal framework attached to the strict word of the law and not by simple populist acts outside any legal and moral order.

All this is and should be for the well-being of the people of Akumal.

Thank you very much

Akumal, Quintana Roo on March 29, 2017

Tour guide reported for harassment by tourists

November 7, 2016

Police confront tour guide from Tulum who was reported as following and harassing two female tourists from the entrance of Akumal to the beach.

Police confront tour guide from Tulum who was reported as following and harassing two female tourists from the entrance of Akumal to the beach.

On Saturday, November 5, two women made a report to the police about a man who was harassing and following them from the entrance of Akumal all the way to the beach. The women, who were not English or Spanish speakers, did not understood what the man was saying and grew fearful of his intentions as he followed them for up to 1 kilometer.

As it turns out the man was from Tulum and was offering independent snorkel tours in Akumal Bay.

The situation of harassing and following tourists is widespread. Not only have the local cooperatives hired people from the surrounding area to be present throughout the entrance way and beach, but independents come to the area to do the same, lured by the lucrative opportunity to conduct tours with turtles with no training and no licence.

As a recommendation, tourists should ask to see certification and permits before hiring a guide.

The chaos in the bay continues

We recently came across this interview in the PorEsto! with Wilberth Marrufo Xiu–co-owner of the Piratas. The Piratas are the main cooperative and the first to formalize their group in Akumal. They are the same group, who several years ago, were operating under the guidelines of a community-based management plan but decided to push for autonomy and independence in operating their snorkel businesses.

The Piratas were also at the forefront of the recent illegal access take-over and today they are running the access along with other local cooperatives. Yet, in a turn of events, even main actors of the current situation in Akumal realize the level of “anarchy” in Akumal Bay and echo sentiments that local environmentalists have been saying for years.

The following is a translation of an article published in the PorEsto!  on September 25, 2016. The online Spanish version of the article is linked below.  


 

AKUMAL, TULUM, 25 September— It’s not just the local people, but also service providers in the bay are finding themselves  a part of the chaos in this  paradisaical location, which puts its fate at risk, noting that there is no interest in its preservation.

Wilberth Marrufo Xiu, a commercial tour/service provider in Akumal Bay, Bay laments at the anarchy in the bay, of seeing who can do more (business), not really caring about the fate of the marine ecosystem that is what worries the federal authorities.

“I see chaos  in the  bay, people coming from not only  the town but equally from other businesses , they all take part, there are people selling their passes in the federal zone, forcing on the one hand for them to hire  guides, and  on the other hand allowing  the entry of numerous groups from travel agencies.

There are a number of tourists being allowed to come from other municipalities from the north of the state, yet  when they enter they were the first to tell  everyone to watch over the natural resources in the area, and  renting  equipment, they  all do what they want without any exception,” he says.

They lie to people and tell them that if they do not hire a guide, they will be imprisoned, among other harassment aimed towards visitors.

“If the authorities do not create order in Akumal Bay, within a year we will have no reefs; anything related to tourism in Akumal will be over, ” says Xiu Marrufo.

As it is working today, everyone is creating the disorder, each looking out for their own economic interest.

In the case of the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa), they are doing little, just look at the actions they do, they take pictures, without knowing how to really proceed.

In response, the respondent considers it urgent that the authorities put a stop to the game of self interest in this paradisaical tourist spot, a unique destination in the world, being the habitat of the sea turtle.

 

Original article, “Continúa el desorden en la bahía”  can be found online

continua-el-desorden-sept25-poresto-image

 

 

Rights vs. abuse of Rights

September 15, 2016

private-property-sign-group-enteringThe right of passage to the federal zone is just that. It’s intended for everyone, of any nationality, to be able to access the beaches of Mexico for their recreational use.

But imagine if this law was applied to every beachfront property along the coast, whether a house, a condo, a villa, a hotel, or a restaurant. The government of Mexico opened up the Riviera Maya for tourism, and never thought of that. They did not leave enough public beaches, with bathroom and lifeguard facilities, picnic areas, trashcans and security. Instead they sold all the land they could, and then realized they needed an Urban Development Plan for the area.

This Urban Development Plan was approved in 2007 for the period 2007–2032. At that time, they designated the “Windows to the Sea” in order to provide access to the beach for the general public.

The central part of Akumal Bay never had a “window” designated, because this area is private property. However, the general public is passing freely to the bay given the unique situation that one of the private properties is not a hotel or a restaurant or a house or villa or condo. It is an Ecological Center and had always been and continues to be open to the community and everyone visiting Akumal.

The government declared a Window to the Sea on the southern part of the Main Bay just down the beach to the south of Akumal Bay Resort, along with all the others they designated in the area. None of these Windows to the Sea were opened up on Private Property.

The original developer of Akumal, Pablo Bush Romero, bought the entire piece of land as one parcel. The subdivisions he submitted for Akumal were how he envisioned the area could be developed. At that time, the municipal and state governments approved the subdivisions without requiring Environmental Impact Studies, public beach accesses, or centralized sewage treatment to name a few. It was very fortunate that Pablo was not a developer, he was a Ford Dealer, and his hobby was underwater archaeology and exploration, and he fell in love with the area. He only developed a small portion of Akumal with very low density and today the family property fully complies with all Environmental Laws.

As the years went by, the government introduced environmental laws and agencies that required new developments/developers to apply for permits. The old subdivisions that had not been built on were no longer valid, and as each subdivision was sold, the developers had to submit a new proposal for the land and comply with all the new requirements. This included Aventuras Akumal, South Akumal, Jade Bay, and Punta Sur. Of those, the newer subdivisions now have Public Beach Accesses, because they were designed into them when the developers applied for their permits, thus not having to use anyone’s private property.

Today, there is a dispute over private property rights on the Main Bay of Akumal. Two pieces of land that were once one piece, and that were subdivided by Pablo Bush Romero are being challenged by a group of people that claim there is a public access there. One piece, he donated to a non profit organization, Club de Yates Akumal, which is now Centro Ukana I Akumal AC (CEA). The other, the family business Hotel Akumal Caribe. Both pieces of land were Pablo’s, and yet today the family is being challenged and their private property rights have been violated.

Private property is the right of a particular individual or entity to use, enjoy and dispose of within the limitations established by law.

In our legal system private property has been recognized as an individual guarantee from the Constitution of 1814. In the current Constitution there is reference to a number of fundamental human rights, protecting private property against arbitrary acts of authority.

Article 14 states that no person shall be deprived of liberty or property, possessions or rights without a trial before previously established courts in which due process is observed and in accordance with laws issued prior to the fact.

Furthermore, Article 16 says that no one may be affected in his person, family, home, papers or possessions, except by written order of the competent authority which is founded and motivated by legal procedural cause.

These provisions are fundamental human rights that are aimed at protecting private property from arbitrary acts of authority, which must respect and protect private property. The authority has the obligation to care for the property of individuals, acts or omissions made illegally through third parties or other arbitrary acts of authority.

Boundary lines between CEA and Hotel Akumal Caribe have been corrected over the years. This is very common as adjustments are made over time under new governments with new technology. The lines were first corrected by the Municipality of Cozumel, then by the Municipality of Solidaridad (Playa del Carmen) and more recently by the Municipality of Tulum. Each claimed that their instruments were correct, and the past ones were not. These certifications do not prove or indicate any wrongdoing, nor do these documents indicate or certify that there is a separate title for a public Access.

Certainly not by a group of citizens who push a vote by the Municipal council that is not the legal entity to decide on matters of Land Registry, thus violating several laws. Certainly not without a court order, and without the proper officials present to carry out a notification before they take land over. Certainly not by destroying private property.  The courts recognized the illegality of these actions on September 2, 2016.

Imagine if one day that a group of people representing a commercial activity in front of your property decides that they want to open up an access through your land to get to the beach. Imagine that you have all your paperwork to prove it is yours, and yet they allege that you stole land from the federal government through an adjustment in your property boundaries with your neighbour.

Imagine that the neighbor had been allowing access through his land for years through a pathway they have on their property. That pathway shows up on your Certification of Means and Boundaries document stating that the neighbouring property has an access to the beach, but it did not say a “Public” Access to the beach. Furthermore, that pathway is not in the Land Registry record, because it is only a reference to a pathway that the property has leading to the beach, and yet a group of private citizens say it is Public based on this.

And suppose that those arguments were used to have a group of private citizens come in and take over a portion of your land, tear down your palapas and whatever else is in their way, and take over that access and control it as if they were the government!  And imagine that no government official was sent to manage this so-called Public Access and that the government allows a group of private citizens to manage it; to tell people what they want, and carry out their business the way they see fit through this access. This is not a Public Access, this is an invaded piece of private property run and controlled by a group from the private sector that conduct snorkel tours in the bay.

You do not need to imagine any of this, because that IS what is happening today. The rights to access the main beach of Akumal have never been violated. There has not been one day that there have not been people freely going in and out of the main bay to the beach.

The rights of private property are being violated through the abuse and disregard of the laws of Mexico.


 

The following article was provided by the owner/operator of Hotel Akumal Caribe as a reflection on the recent events.