03 February, 2008

Blowing Point

Dolphinarium Construction Begins at Blowing Point. I really am not focused on the dolphins. They are the national symbol of Anguilla. Their exploitation by a Mexican company, with the connivance of Anguillian officials, for the amusement and entertainment of hamburger-eating cruise ship passengers from neighbouring St Maarten, is curious at least. The general opposition to the project in Anguilla has not moved our government. Other than that, I have no interest in dolphins.

The three dolphins on the Anguilla rebel flag shown above stand for friendship, wisdom and strength, according to the website Flagspot. The three dolphins are coloured orange to represent endurance, unity and strength. The circle stands for continuity. The flag has a white background, for peace and tranquility, with a turquoise-blue base representing the surrounding sea and also faith, youth and hope. What irony!

The current official flag shown above, a blue ensign with a dolphin badge, was adopted on 30 May 1990 with much pride and fanfare. I remember the events well. As I recall, Colville Petty served as Chair of the committee, and I was a naïve and enthusiastic member of it. Little did I know at the time what use we were to make of these intelligent and friendly symbols not twenty years later.

The story that catches my interest is the report that the relocation of the dolphinarium from Meads Bay to Sandy Ground and now to Blowing Point has not been conducted within the rules and laws that govern Anguilla. Official approval and encouragement of wrongdoing is the real meat in the dolphin story. The Land Development Control Committee advising government has placed reliance on Environmental Impact Statements that have been described by the experts as mere “lobbying documents, insubstantial and shallow”. Their decision to approve the project in the face of all the evidence that it is of no advantage to Anguilla’s tourism plant, causes most Anguillians to wonder. The Anguilla Hotel and Tourism Association is in the process of conducting a poll among its members. Preliminary results indicate that upwards of 90% are opposed to it, on the ground that none of Anguilla’s tourists and few Anguillian residents visit it. Placing a wild animal circus in a high-end city suburb has never been a town and country planner’s idea of how to add value and improve the environment!

This Saturday’s Daily Herald Weekender section carries a front page story by Suzanne Koelega detailing the whole sad chronicle of events. It is an eye-opener for anyone who is not familiar the story.

Here are some photos of the new construction under way. You can draw your own conclusions.

This shows one of the pens under construction.

This shows what I imagine will be the jetty out to the pens.

This shows the Anguilla ferries at Blowing Point harbour, moored not more than a couple of hundred yards away, up-current from where the dolphins will be caged. I understand the EIS reports hopefully that the diesel and gasoline and the noise of the engines will have no adverse effect on the captive animals.

The above photo shows one of the ferries darting out of the harbour, just a few yards up from one of the new dolphin pens under construction. You do not have to be a dolphin expert to imagine what damage this activity will do to the caged animals with their delicate echo-location equipment being assaulted twice every half hour in this fashion. Not to mention all the inevitable spilled fuel and oil. But, then we all know that dolphins like to swim in dirty water, and suffer no adverse effect from it.

I had thought that the new dolphin facility would be on the actual sandy spit at Blowing Point. We have been referring to it as the new dolphinarium “at Sandy Point”. However, the above photo shows it being constructed some distance to the east of the spit, and close to the business places and the ferry terminal just to the east and in the near background of the photograph.

Then, of course, there are the new homes that are going up to the west, down current from the dolphinarium. You can see one going up to the right of the above photograph. Heaven alone knows what it will be like to swim in all that rotting, uneaten, dead fish and dolphin excrement that will be flowing in their direction. And, where will the Anguillians who used to picnic on this pristine location go to enjoy themselves in the future? And, what is going to happen to these “fish” when the next, inevitable hurricane strikes?

I am told that one bus driver who has a lucrative contract to take the cruise ship passengers from St Maarten, who are the main users of the dolphinarium, and two ferry boat operators, who have similar contracts, were the only lobbyists in favour of the dolphinarium. Their alleged mortgages outweighed all the other interests in moving the government of the day to approve the project.

How will the Hon Hubert Hughes answer to his political constituents when the inevitable merde hits the propeller, I ask myself? As the Chief Minister has admitted in another context, “Mistakes have been made.”

Dolphin steak, anyone?


  1. I find it infuriating that the Government is showing blatant disregard for the facts - The environmental chaos, the horrible living conditions the dolphins will be in, the backwinding of our tourism plan (ie Low volume, High quality) and most insultingly the will of the people! How can they claim to be representatives of the people when they seem to fly in the face of the people's needs?

  2. Are those pictures of a new 21st century construction technique? Looks very hi-tech.
    This weeks Anguillian has some letters to the editor where the Dolphins are referred to as fish. A little education seems to be needed on Anguilla's national symbol. The Dolphins in question are warm blooded mammals, not the Dolphin fish, aka Mahi Mahi, that we all love to eat. Maybe if people realize they are not fish, more interest will be shown for their plight.

  3. I think it really sucks that the Gov't has completely ignored the voices of its people who are in opposition of the project. We have a rogue Govt' who it seems believes that they are empowered to impose their will on the people of Anguilla without penalties. This should be viewed as a wake up call to make all Anguillians aware that it is time to relieve them of their posts in Gov't and to institute the change that is now painfully obvious.

    It is time that the people come to grips with the idea that Hubert no longer represents their interests and withdraw their support from him. The people of Anguilla and Blowing Point, especially, should not stand idly by and allow this craziness to continue. It really is a let down for the locals and the country as a whole for the Gov't to act so irresponsibly.

    We have to raise up and fight the powers that be and boot these jokers out before they come up with another crazy scheme such as the DD circus. Lord help us then.

  4. We used to swim and dive there. I'm not sure we'll be back.

  5. Guess no more swiming or picnicing down there anymore unless you want to do so in Dolphin pooh and get sick in the process.
    Hubert what have you to say?You seems to be able to talk about everything else well?Where is you voice?You will never ever get my vote you should be sent to Dog Island to live with the goeats and sheep for all I care you useless blabering imbecile.

  6. It is with dismay that I read this interesting turn of events that lead to the relocation of the DD to Blowing Point. The Sandy Point beach was as pristine as any in Anguilla and I enjoyed frolicking there with friends and family. However, I now know that I wont be able to do so anymore and that I have the GOA to thank for that. Why is it that the Gov't appears to place more interest in the ambitions and aspirations of these foreign businesses or businessmen then concern for the welfare of its own people? Money is not an end unto itself and should be treated as a means to facilitate continued economic growth. In this respect, we need to carefully consider the various programs and projects that are sent our way. Proper planning and research studies must be conducted by worthy professionals who have the proper credentials needed to undertake such an assignment.
    I know that this is in retrospect but these outrageous actions being perpetrated by the GOA are suspect. Why is this happening ? What are the fringe benefits or enticements? Who is profiting from these unilateral decisions? Is this another corruption scheme where the GOA is again being used as pawns in a crooked business venture to the detriment of Anguilla and its people?

    These are some hard and serious questions that have to be posed and deserved to be answered?

  7. small caribbean islands will do anything for money. here in antigua our ministers support the slaughter of whales and see nothing wrong with it at all. those dolphin peeps will return here for sure too. On the bright side, we have had more "attractions" start up since they left keeping the cruise guests entertained. Zip line tours and others possible will negate the need of another controversial dolphin jail.

  8. Truth be told seeing Dolphins in captivity is not an attraction to intelligent people.

    It is quite unfortunate that the Government have permitted this unsightly and unattractive wart to remain on our shores ( pun unintended).

    It is not too late to remedy that.

    How come the Dolphin people have such good luck?

    We need a deep background check Mr. Mitchell, a Deep Throat.

  9. apparently the dolphins were moved last (Tuesday) night and are now swimming in Sandy Point.

    The Anguilla Experience...Feeling Is Believing!
    Tranquility Wrapped in Dolphin Poop

  10. I heard they are not taking away the beach, actually the government said that the mexican company will have parking, toilets and showers for the locals.

  11. In response to the story about showers and toilets for the locals.What are the implications here?Is it that the locals do not have toilets and showers in their own homes? Are they not clean?Why do they need these showers and toilets ?Will they have to wash before entering the dolphinarium so they wont pollute the tourists from st.Martin? WAKE UP ANGUILLA!

  12. Sounds like the showers are a good idea - At least folks will be able to shower off the "poop" before getting back on the ferry!

  13. Well we can lament and moan all we like but lets face the facts. The DD are here to stay and will forever change Blowing Point and Sandy Point, howver, we have to take an objective view of it, if ever we can, and try to make this a workable situation. Despite this, we still have to be vigilant to figure out a plan to bring them down. This might take some time and careful investigation but be not dismayed it can be done.

    This is our island in the sun and we will do whatever we can to preserve that.


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