Category Archives: Wildlife

Fallon Best takes issue with Honey Bea III sea turtles accusation

Honey Bea Fishing Barbados

 Honey Bea Charter’s crew members respect the turtles!

by Fallon Best Christ Church

by Fallon Best
Christ Church

Contrary to what BFP’s article about the Honey Bea III states, no one has ever apparently contacted the owner Mr Elson Best directly of Honey Bea III. (See BFP’s Bridgetown Careenage and Harbour beautiful… but deadly to Sea Turtles?)

The telephone number is public on brochures all over Barbados and on website HoneyBeaBarbados. Telephone 230.9936. The recently retired captain at the time has worked for Honey Bea Charters for approximately 40 years and the mate for almost 20 years.

These are experienced local fishermen in a small tourism service and have never to my knowledge ever landed nor fished for turtles, especially on Honey Bea nor in the Careenage. Many charters boats feed fish and bait scraps to turtles in the Careenage and tourists usually enjoy watching them surface. They inquire on the spot about cruises to snorkel and feed turtles on West Coast and fishing charters. You can imagine the crew would be the last people to deliberately fish, hook, land a turtle in the Careenage as they support their life’s living off the turtle feeding practise.

On the other hand, turtles bite at fishermen’s bait meant for fish regularly and if a hook was overboard during feeding, the high probability is the hook disintegrated or came out of the turtles mouth.

I wish Barbados Free Press the best with quality investigative journalism in the future, which protects the rights of the vulnerable, the working class and exposes injustice, unethical and criminal behavior in society – but of course based on facts and not any uncertain libel accusations which may neglect truth and slander hard working people and more innocent members of society.

Fallon Best (relative of the owner)

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment, Wildlife

Why no solution on the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary?

Barbados Graeme Hall Sluice Gate (click photo for large)

Deliberate destruction of a RAMSAR Treaty natural wetlands

The last mangrove swamp in Barbados is being deliberately destroyed by the Barbados government – so that private interests (read ‘friends of the ruling party’) can benefit financially by squeezing out the foreign philanthropist / owner and then developing the area into condominiums and industrial parks. This is not an unheard of scenario in Barbados, especially with agricultural lands and natural / scrub / coastal areas. It also is common for landowners to spend decades trying to re-classify agricultural and other natural lands for development, only to be refused time and time again.

Then some person will come along and offer just a little bit over the agricultural value and the discouraged and beaten owner will sell. A few weeks later, the land is approved for development and quickly resold for a hundred times what was paid. That is the real Barbados!

The only problem with the Graeme Hall swamp is that the owner, a Canadian philanthropist named Peter Allard, doesn’t want to develop the area: he wants to preserve this precious natural resource for the Bajan people. Earlier Allard volunteered to have the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary incorporated into a National Park. That didn’t work out when the greedy hands of career politicians wanted their cut or NO DEAL! Now that political elite is determined to have it all.

It might take more twenty more years for the cabals to get hold of what is probably the most valuable land on the south coast, but the elites think in generations and they know that there are other foreign chickens to pluck until that time arrives. The elites own the courts and the government, so they have plenty of time.  Continue reading

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment, Nature, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Wildlife

Bridgetown Careenage and Harbour beautiful… but deadly to Sea Turtles

Honey Bea Fishing Barbados

Honey Bea III refuses to answer accusation of fishing for turtles

Contributed by BFP reader CJB

The Careenage and Harbour used to be a garbage strewn muddy dump. They have spent years cleaning it up and landscaping the surrounds. They have even restored the lift bridge to working order. However now that the area has been cleaned up and the water is far less murky (polluted?) turtles have started to appear, largely attracted by the free food from the deep-sea fishing boats moored there.

Unfortunately some of the deep-sea fishing vessels are now also trying to catch the turtles with rod, line and hook. The boat we saw was Honey Bee III. (Editor’s note: I think he means Honey Bea III)

They had a rope over the side with what looked like the entrails of a large fish at the end of it – two Hawksbill turtles were attempting to get bits off it. One was an adult, another a juvenile. However there was another conventional fishing rod and line with hook also dangling in the water. It was baited with fish – quite why it was there is a moot point. It was this that the adult turtle got caught on – obviously attracted to the bait on the hook. There was quite a struggle by one of the guys to ‘land’ it and the rod bent right down. Eventually the turtle surfaced and its head broke the water – my photo in hi-res clearly shows the line from the rod to the hook in its beak.

Then the line snapped and the turtles (both) swam off. The two staff carried on gutting a barracuda as though nothing had happened. The whole incident also witnessed by a number of tourists.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Environment, Nature, Wildlife

Life is hard for Sea Turtle hatchlings

Barbados Sea Turtle Release

We love to see the hatchling releases by the UWI Sea Turtle Project, but a photo of a Dolphin (Mahi Mahi) being cleaned reminds us that only a few turtles survive the first few days in the sea. The lucky or smart ones are few.

Sea turtle hatchling Barbados

All the more reason to immediately report anyone you see killing an adult turtle. There was a time when sea turtles were like the stars in the sky around Bim. Not anymore.

Each one of us has a responsibility to protect and grow our sea turtle population.

Thanks to Skip to Malou and the Barbados Sea Turtle Project for the photos and links.

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Our lawless beaches: Turtle poachers threaten violence against witnesses

Police absent as killers raid nests, butcher hawksbill turtles right on the beach!

“The field director noted the poachers were getting even bolder and more aggressive, to the point where they were threatening eyewitnesses against making reports to police. So afraid was one person that she only reported an incident to the project three days after the act and she could not be convinced to make a statement to police.”

… from The Nation article Turtles under attack

Editorial by BFP

The increasing reluctance of Bajans to report crimes or to testify in court is directly related to fears of retaliation. People also have an unwillingness to experience the well known abuses of the police and court system towards witnesses, but it is the witness fear factor that is the first barrier to our police when they arrive at a crime scene. There can be two hundred people in a field but nobody ever sees or hears anything – gunshots and screams included.

This lack of confidence in the ability of the police and the courts to protect witnesses from threats and harm is seriously undermining the quality of life in Barbados. There is a general realisation that the lawless elements are becoming bolder as they know too well that the police aren’t likely to come when called, and if the police do come, ordinary folks will say nothing because they are too frightened to become witnesses.

Although judges, lawyers and citizens have been vocal about this disturbing trend of threats and other intimidation tactics against witnesses, neither the government nor the police have done anything to address the problem. In the courts it is still a common occurrence for charges to be dropped with the thin explanation that “the victim no longer desires the charges to proceed”. The judges, lawyers and the DPP never make further serious enquiries as to why the victim has “changed their mind” as I once heard a lawyer tell the court.

Neither have our lawmakers in Parliament seen fit to change the laws to enable judges to force victims and witnesses to testify. This change, combined with prosecutors refusing to drop charges, has proven especially effective in reducing domestic violence in the U.K. and several American jurisdictions we’ve read about.

Epidemic of turtle killing – with no witnesses

This year the grisly turtle remains are turning up everywhere. The Nation reports that the number of known killings so far this nesting season is double that of all last year.

Darren Browne, field director of the Barbados Sea Turtle Project, says that folks are too frightened to call the police because the poachers are threatening witnesses. Mr. Browne invites witnesses to call the Sea Turtle hotline instead of the police and his organization will then call the police. This is supposed to keep the witnesses’ identities from the police, while alerting the authorities so that the police can attend at the scene and try to catch poachers in the act. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Environment, Wildlife

The ‘before’ photo: Cave Bay, Merricks, Barbados

Taken in October, 2008. Enjoy the photo folks, because it’s all changed and we can’t say for the better.

Give thanks to an old friend.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment, Wildlife

Why can’t we all just get along?

An old friend sent this to me. On the surface it’s an overdose of cute. On a deeper level, well… it gets pretty deep.

Inspiration and learning is where you find it… and very often it is found where you don’t expect it.

IF you are open.

Shona

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Filed under Wildlife