St Lucian gov't defends planned dolphin park
St Lucia's United Worker's Party (UWP) has sought to clarify several matters regarding a proposed dolphin park on the island's famous Pigeon Island.
In an update, the party said that dolphins will be bred, born and raised in captivity, and that the pools for the dolphins will be built out to sea and not on land.
The details are as follows:
"Government: 'The Facts on the Proposed Dolphin Park'
-All Dolphins are bred, born and raised in captivity
-The company, Dolphin Discovery, has done it successfully for over 20 years
-The company has over 25 locations including in Jamaica, Bahamas, Mexico...
-The proposed facility is at a location of Pigeon Island where no activity currently takes place
-The proposed location for the Dolphin Park is next to Jambe du Bois
-There will be no excavation at Pigeon Island!
-The old cemetery at P.I. will not be interfered with and will be fenced off
-Pools for the dolphins are built out in the sea and not on the land
-Educational tours will be conducted for school children to acquaint them with dolphins.
-If located at Pigeon Island, the Saint Lucia National Trust stands to make over $1 million EC per year from Dolphin Cove. $5000 US lease per year plus $7.50US per visitor that visits Dolphin park. An estimated 50,000 visitors are anticipated in the first year.
-Dolphin Park was already approved by SLP in 2014 and announced in the 2014/2015 Budget!
-Full Environmental Impact Assessments will be conducted
-Although Virgin Tours and Expedia do not promote new sea animal attractions they however still promote sea attractions that were established before 2014. They will not boycott Saint Lucia.
-Enhances the Tourism brand by expanding the offerings while in Saint Lucia
-More business for vendors, taxi drivers, craft vendors, car rental companies going to Pigeon Island and other linkage industries
-Nominated for World Travel Awards in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
-120 jobs during construction phase of 9 months
-35 Full-time jobs for Saint Lucians once operational."
The party also added the certifications and awards the company has garnered:
"-AMMPA: With more than 10 parks certified by the Alliance of MArine Mammal Parks & Aquariums.
-IMATA: Certified since 2003 by the International Marine Animal Trainer’s Association.
-IAAPA: Member of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.
-ASTA: Member of the American Society of Travel Agencies since 2014.
-Princess Cruise Lines: Dolphin discovery has been awarded 10 times as “Tour of the Season”
-ESR: Certified as an Empresa Socialmente Responsable (Socially Responsible Company) since 2006.
-Super Empresas Expansión: Awarded since 2013.
-Modelo de Equidad de Género: Recognized and awarded for its compromise with the equality of opportunity to men and women."
St Lucia's plans to build a dolphin park at Pigeon Island, the island's most popular landmark, received objection from the St Lucia National Trust.
The plan has also received objections from two international tourism entities serving the island and the region: Virgin Holidays, which serves the island, says it will not sell any more holidays to new destinations with dolphins in captivity, while TripAdviser.com says it too will not market such destinations.