Antigua groups back SLNT dolphin stand

Antigua groups back SLNT dolphin stand

Press Release:-Three environmental groups in Antigua & Barbuda are sending congratulations to the St Lucia National Trust for its unanimous stand against the development of a captive dolphin facility in St Lucia.

The Antiguan environmental groups recently spoke out (both in printed media and through several radio broadcasts) in opposition to dolphin captivity, in light of recent developments in St. Lucia, where Dolphin Discovery, the Mexican swim-with-dolphin (SWD) attraction, is seeking for the second time to build a new dolphin facility on the historic site and national park of Pigeon Island.

The Antigua Barbuda Independent Tourism Promotion Corp. (ABITPC), The Antigua Conservation Society, and the Environmental Awareness Group (EAG) have come together to share their common concerns on the issue, as they feel that SWD attractions give countries a negative image, hurt tourism based economies and also   create many environmental problems.

There had also been a major outcry in Antigua when a capture license was issued to the original owner of the Antigua Dolphin facility, Dolphin Fantasies, to “capture annually 12 wild dolphins from the territorial waters around Antigua and Barbuda.” This led to the environmental group ABITPC taking legal action, with the capture license eventually being rescinded by the Government of Antigua. The same capture request had been submitted to the Government of St. Lucia in 2003, but was never granted.  The Mexican company, Dolphin Discovery  purchased Dolphin fantasies soon after.

The same company,  Dolphin Discovery, fled Antigua in 2004 after major controversy over a SWD program. The project caused major environmental problems on Antigua and also lead to international negative press, nearly leading to a boycott of the island.

In 2002 there was  a previous  attempt  to open a  dolphin pen  in  St. Lucia, but plans were halted. Coverage by  a number of international publications brought much negative publicity to St. Lucia.

Perhaps the most damaging story was  the UK Sunday Times when they printed a story  entitled “Murder riddle of a dolphin lover.”

This article referred to the murder of Jane Tipson, who was leading the campaign against the proposed St Lucia dolphin facility. There was speculation that Tipson, 53, had put herself at risk with her efforts to stop St. Lucia from establishing SWD programs. However, her murder was never solved.

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/article53282.ece

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Jane_Tipson

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/cornwall/3232033.stm

 

Due to the negative publicity, the project never took off, but now Dolphin Discovery has resurfaced in St. Lucia with a new plan in the last few months.  Again this has caused major public outcry and  The  St Lucian  National Trust (SLNT)  is  in the forefront of the issue.

Public Relations officer of ABITPC Martha Watkins Gilkes stated, “I am delighted to hear from the Director of the St. Lucia National Trust, Bishu Tulsie, that a successful National Trust meeting was held on March 11th and the vote was unanimous against the project proposal.”

The Antiguan environmental groups are optimistic that not only will Antigua remain “dolphin free” with no captive facilities, but that a law could be passed to prevent any captive dolphins on the island in the future.

Under the past government of Antigua & Barbuda, a law was proposed to prohibit the display of captive dolphins, which would be a major step forward in framing Antigua as a country protective of its environment.

The bill was presented to the Cabinet several times and was very close to being passed into law when a change of government took place in 2014 just before the bill was finalized.

There is presently a move underway to revive the bill and it is hoped that in the near future Antigua & Barbuda will join progressive countries protecting their marine environment by banning captive dolphin display.

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5 Comments

  1. Susan Brown
    March 15, 2017 at 10:54 pm Reply

    So glad to hear that St. Lucia is making a stand for the people, environment, and dolphins. Tourists don’t need to be a 24 hr. entertainment addict. These dolphins are amazing animals. Congratulations for not being bought by greed.

  2. 666
    March 16, 2017 at 10:48 am Reply

    It should be banned across the entire OECS, they can’t enslave people anymore so they turned to animals. Freedom!

  3. Anonymous
    March 16, 2017 at 8:21 pm Reply

    OUR ANTIGUA ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS WILL STAND STRONG ON THIS MATTER. We are committed to doing the right thing for our planet AS GANDHI said ” THE GREATNESS OF NATION can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” WILL ST LUCIA be a great nation under this Prime Minister … ???

    1. Martha Watkins Gilkes
      March 16, 2017 at 8:34 pm Reply

      Meant to post my name above as I am NOT ANONYMOUS and am proud to stand up and be counted for my beliefs. This Dolphin prison is WRONG.. a crime against nature plain and simple.. there is not middle ground and no compromise

  4. Martha Watkins Gilkes
    March 16, 2017 at 8:35 pm Reply

    Meant to post my name above as I am NOT ANONYMOUS and am proud to stand up and be counted for my beliefs. This Dolphin prison is WRONG.. a crime against nature plain and simple.. there is not middle ground and no compromise

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