Barranco Village was established in the eighteen hundreds. Its residents are mostly Garinagu who rely on fishing and farming for their livelihoods. The laid-back community also makes for a great tourist attraction, but over the years, Barranco has been losing its beach. It is a natural progression that the people have been appealing for help to address, but up to now, they say they haven’t gotten any assistance. News Five’s Marion Ali reports.
Marion Ali, Reporting
Barranco Village is a tiny coastal community with a breath-taking view of the Caribbean Sea from atop its naturally elevated cliff. But, similar to what is happening not far away in Monkey River Village, Barranco is losing its beach to erosion.
Leslie Colon, Barranco Resident
“The seafront terrible, dah place wash weh about a hundred or more feet fi the past bout twenty years.”
Beatrice Mariano, Barranco Village Activist
“Barranco is about fifteen feet above sea level and I’m sure by now it has gone down somewhat.”
The cliff in Barranco Village is where the roughly one hundred residents of the small fishing village go to relax. It is where they can get an impressive view of the sea and in the distance, villages in neighbouring Guatemala. Only a decade ago, this structure was a club where villagers and visitors alike used to retreat to for recreation and socializing. It now stands on unsteady ground, weakened by the constant and unforgiving tidal waves that drift to shore. But if aggressive reclamation is not done undertaken very soon, all that is left now will also be consumed by the sea.
“And homes are now in danger of being…?”
“Eventually, because we do have homes that are built on the cliff and it (the water) wasn’t there five years ago. We have had researchers coming around here and I have seen what is happening in Monkey River and I empathize with the people of Monkey River and I am hoping that Barranco doesn’t reach that stage. So whatever advice or whatever assistance, whether it means we need to build a wall to capture back the sand when it comes in, you know, to build up back the beach and in doing that then that water will no longer hit the cliff because the wall will be there, the sand will be there.”
“What’s the village council saying about it?”
“We haven’t had a meeting in a while.”
Barranco Village activist, Beatrice Mariano, told News Five that their cries have gone unanswered so far.
“We have been crying for government or entities that could assist. With what’s happening, the amount of beach we have lost already, we practically don’t have any beach. All the mangroves at the front are toppling over and now the sea is not hitting the cliff.”
Mariano and the rest of the villagers are hoping that when the story of their village is exposed, that they will receive the help they have been clamouring for.