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.


  1. To encourage more tourists we need to tell the world we are against cruelty to all animals, mammals etc. We need to set up an animal cruelty patrol with powers to prosecute offenders with jail terms and very high fines, lets make a stand on no cruelty to dogs, cats, goats, sheep,etc.
    I feel that tourists would be drawn here if this was recognized as the island of zero tolerance to animal, mammal cruelty.
    By not allowing a dolphin show on Anguilla and advertising the fact we would encourage more tourists.

  2. The reason these Dolphin prisons are good business isn't for Anguilla. Cruise ships like to promote them, an as St.Maarten (messed up as it is it denied the facility there) doen't have it.....The other reason is that the timeshares in SXM like to offer a trip like that as a reward to people that sit through their 2 hour presentation. Either way, the type of customers that come from SXM are not the customers our tourism industry wants, that is why it usually becaomes an all inclusive trip. They all come on the same ferry, they all get on the same bus, they all have a crappy lunch (usually provided at the dolphin location) and they all go back to SXM. None see Anguilla except for the prison and what they see, our roads with trash left and right and our not so romantic scrub vegetation, doesn't leave them with any lasting or memorable memory of our island. Ferry/Bus/Dolphin prison make some cash, thats about it. Image of Anguilla takes a huge hit. Not worth the negative publicity it generates.

  3. Please send us emails and names and numbers so we may express our EXTREME DISMAY over this horrid news. Thanks! Talking and complaining will not save these lovely mammals. We need to take united ACTION. Looking for your direction Don or anyone since I am off island.

  4. Islander has made excellent suggestions on what to do, what not to do, and why, at:

  5. Hon Haydn Hughes is quoted in the 23 April "Anguillian":

    "The previous Government has compulsorily acquired some land east of the airport, but we have to be mindful of the local developers there who want to develop the Conch Bay Project. And if we were to pursue that land, the development would be harmed significantly and we don’t want that. We want to have a good relationship between the Government of Anguilla and the developers in that area especially that they are local developers. We are now actively looking at other sites to develop an airport.”

    So instead of an airport in their back yard, a month later he wants to put this crappy dolphin trash in their front yard. Is this great or what?

  6. GET YOUR TICKETS HERE! THE CIRCUS IS COMING TO TOWN! Next week will be the bearded woman and the 1 eyed boy. What will this type of business do for the long-term issues, which face the government? No more than a Band-Aid does for a arterial wound.....it just gets in the way so you can’t see how bad the cut is. What is needed is to diversify the economy and bring long-term jobs. Not jobs which ebb and flow with the tourist dollars, for if that is all that is needed, then just hunker down, they will come back in a 4-5 years when the global economy picks back up.

    But if a few years is not fast enough for you, then you might want to press for real jobs and ask the circus to stay home. I was on a plane flight several months ago, when sitting next to me was a man from the USA who wanted to bring a Tuna Aquaculture (raising Tuna in cages for sale) business to Anguilla. He had a nice presentation he showed me and said he was coming to make a formal presentation to cabinet of Ministers. We talked for the better part of 45 minutes about it and it really looked good. He agreed to hire locals and seemed convinced he could pull it off without and impact on the environment. I wonder what happened to such a project? It seemed like a great industry to bring to Anguilla and this is the type of business that is not tourism based and not be impacted by the ebb and flow of tourism dollars. I wish CM Hughes was out would be looking for these types of projects, rather tethering our economy on circus side shows.

  7. Lets bring our kids!


    Then there is this:

    When Dolphins Attack at the Adventure places. Dec 03, 2006, 4:16 AM

    I was attacked by 3 male dolphins while participating in a swim with the dolphins program at Xcaret park in Mexico.

    It was a horrifying experience. I will try to talk anyone who will listen out of swimming with the dolphins. They are wild animals and even though they are trained and attacked are supposedly rare, the risk of serious injury or death is not worth it.

    I am lucky that I walked away alive. Unfortunately for me and my family, we were out nearly 1,000USD for the experience of being attacked by a wild animal.

    I do not know what the process is like in the US, but in Mexico, no waivers were signed and there is no possible way to take legal action. So all I can hope to do now is spread the word and make people aware of the danger that the park (at least the one I was at) does not make one aware of. Not to say that I have no responsibiltiy for putting myself in the situation, but they (the parks) sure do make you feel like you are going to be safe and taken care of. We were reassured several times that dolphins are not aggressive unless provoked (I certainly did NOT provoke them).

    DO NOT SWIM WITH DOLPHINS!!! Tell everyone you know. Would you participate in a pet and play with the lions? How about swim with the hippos? Hunt the crocodiles? Wild animals are wild animals no matter how trained they are, no matter how long they are kept in captivity. You can train an animal, but you cannot take the wild instincts out of them.

    Again, I was lucky that we were in a small pool (unlike the HUGE pool we were in just prior to the attack), that I am young and athletic and was able to get myself to safety (since the trainers did nothing to help me). But had I been in the larger tank, or had I been a small child or elderly person, I surely could have been killed. DON'T DO IT!

    Or see this story > http://everything2.com/title/When+dolphins+go+bad

  8. Previously my wife and I visiting the island more than 15 times had started looking actively at acquiring real estate. When in NOV 2006 we thought to ourselves...this golf course is crazy...and then the Fairmont...and the Shoal Bay Development!

    The govt and the people of Anguilla have made several critical mistakes...and they can be undone....

    1) Rescind the licensing of Shoal bay Development.....and return the money to the purchasers

    2) Rescind the development agreement with Fairmont

    3) Return the Island to a single family villa retreat....

    4) Eliminate the Stamp tax and instead charge annual property tax to non belongers

    5) Let the price of real estate fall......to where it should be....a $1 mill villa in 2007 is 600K today....and land off the sea is 1/3 the value....

    Make these adjustments and we will come back...blight creates FLIGHT

  9. Too much, too fast; incompetence and greed have overrun the island. Creating more sideshows is NOT going to facilitate anything but that which the above poster noted as more blight. If I want to see half-finshed projects, I'll volunteer to go to Haiti again, where at least they have an excuse. Without sustainable and forward-looking business opportunities that build a tax base of employment and export, Anguilla will go the way of other has-been tourist mecas. As it stands, the tourism product offered is hardly worth the price. Time to shape up. Not really sure yet if the AUM is up to the tremendous challenge laid at their feet by the AUF; surely they don't think that another dolphin circus is the answer??? - Scotty

  10. DIVERSIFY, DIVERSIFY…..I don’t think it is incompetence or greed as much as inexperience and naiveté. BUILDING THE EMPLOYEMENT BASE WITH REAL LONG-TERM JOBS IS THE KEY. Reaching for the low hanging fruit is human nature ( works well in politics) so it was to reach for the low fruit of tourism development in the past. The old saying of “teach a man to fish” comes to mind. It is much harder to teach government to have thoughtful economic planning and fiscal responsibility, rather than a to jump on the next fade coming down the road. Would you encourage your children to pursue employment at Cable & Wireless or as a bartender at Ku? Both are respectable jobs, but the C&W job is harder to get, and over time will prove to be more stable for obvious reasons, the bartender job just will not. So it is with the island construction jobs in pursuit of tourism dollars. Diversify the economy, long-term jobs are the key to a stable future.

  11. 4) Eliminate the Stamp tax and instead charge annual property tax to non belongers

    What about non-belongers who already paid a Stamp Tax? What would you do for them?

  12. Richard O'Barry, marine mammal specialist at the Earth Island Institute, explains why you need to rethink swimming with captive dolphins on your next holiday.

  13. To answer June 01 question, they will turn them over, shake them vigorously and see if money falls out of any other pocket. It’s almost as if the mindset is to fleece non-belongers.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.