20 May, 2010
Dolphins Plus makes a play for Anguilla. Word has reached me that representatives of the Florida-based Dolphins Plus met with tourism officials last week to discuss opening a facility on Anguilla. The site of the jetty at Forest Bay was tentatively suggested to them. The Dolphins Plus representatives were so encouraged by this meeting that they are said to be planning a return trip in four weeks time to meet with government.
Some of our shorter-than-normal-sighted tourism reps are pressing the tourism department for this type of entertainment to be introduced into Anguilla. Apparently, they want to attract more of the Disney World crowd to our shores. Our political representatives are being encouraged to whistle the same tune. They are desperate for any type of project that will bring a crowd, any crowd, to Anguilla. It would give them an opportunity to claim that they are bringing “employment” to Anguillians. This is a perfect example of Juvenal's bread and circuses.
Anguilla used to be considered a five star resort destination. That was before construction of the previous dolphin prison, now mercifully closed. Regretfully, as the intelligence and quality level of our visitors has deteriorated, so has that of our tourism advisers. As we continue to scrape the bottom of the tourism barrel we are once again considering the construction of a prison circus for the entertainment of the more scruffy parts of our market.
Dolphins Plus are headquartered in Key Largo, Florida. Their website claims that they come to the dolphin pen business with a "different" approach. They say they are more humane and educational. If you believe that, I have a tower in Paris I want to sell you. Here are some recently taken photos of their prison facility at Key Largo.
The only sight more depressing I can think of is San Quentin Prison. I sure hope they do a better job of constructing a containment facility in Anguilla than they did in Key Largo.
Has anyone smelled the excrement yet? If you have not, read up on the Dolphins Plus adventures a few years ago in Dominica and Tortola. This is a small example of what awaits us in Anguilla if this project is permitted.
Fortunately, it does not have to happen. Before this project can get off the ground, there are many obstacles that Dolphins Plus will have to overcome. A sample of them include:
The shallow depth of the sea in the bay. There is no significant depth of sand that can be dredged. There is solid rock below and around the Forest Bay jetty. Dynamite will be needed to get the needed depth for dolphin pens. The cost alone would be prohibitive. If they go any further out into the bay in search of depth, they will block the entrance to the harbour. How would the fishermen take that development?
Has anyone considered what sort of breakwater will need to be constructed to attain the protection these sea mammals require when they are caged? The cost would make the project unaffordable. And, what would constructing a breakwater do to the health of the Bay? Does anyone swim in nearby Marigot harbour since they constructed their breakwater?
The requisite Environmental Impact Study will be interesting to read. What impact, if any, will the chemicals leaching from the Corito Landfill a half mile away have on the health of the dolphins? And what of the proposed nearby deep water harbour?
Forest Bay Beach has its swimming devotees. The beach is a mere hundred yards down-current. There are Anguillians who regularly take their constitutional swim there, some in the mornings and others in the evenings. Will anyone still want to swim there after the dolphins are installed?
Has anyone told Joyce or Dame Bernice about this proposal to place a five-star dolphin toilet pit in the front yard of their Conch Bay property? If not, please do so now. Let us see Dolphins Plus try to deal with a combination of those two ladies.