Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 19th 2013 Contents An unusual thing happened in
Costa Rica in 2012. Its par-
liament voted to ban hunt-
ing. Not one MP voted against.
Party lines blurred and politicians
united to do the right thing, that
which Costa Rica has become
known for: protecting biodiversity.
The world applauded, countless
media reports flashed around the
globe and the Costa Rican country
brand was strengthened.
Ecotourists recognise that brand,
and last year a record 2.34 million
visitors lavished US$2.4 billion on
the country. Do good things and
good things will come to you. In
Costa Rica, biodiversity, tourism,
economy and legislation are locked
in an upwardly spiralling symbiotic
It s time we start doing the right
thing in T&T. We need to.
We think of ourselves as an eco-
tourism destination, but our
wildlife numbers are being stressed
by overhunting and habitat loss.
Tourism arrivals show the same
general malaise. Our ecotourism
brand is weak, because it has no
We can change that. We preach
that we want ecotourism; we must
start by practising ecotourism-
friendly wildlife management.
Hunting season is around the
corner. It starts on October 1 and
lasts until February 28 next year.
It s one of the world s longest
hunting seasons; there are no bag
limits, nor much data to base a sci-
entific wildlife management policy
on.It s not all doom and gloom.
There s a growing lobby for a hunt-
ing moratorium, and rumour has it
that Minister Ganga Singh, of the
Ministry of the Environment and
Water Resources, is in support of it.
However, the hunting lobby is an
effective one, and the environmen-
talists, accused of being poorly
organised, have been largely silent.
This is a tipping-point issue; valid-
ity of arguments and strength of
numbers will decide which way the
That s up to you, citizen of T&T.
Let your voice be heard.
We need a hunting moratorium
so wildlife can recover and it will
allow scientists to conduct a fully
comprehensive wildlife survey. The
data collected should be used to
implement the draft wildlife policy,
on which public consultations were
held between January and March.
The sale of wild meat needs to
be banned. Eating wild meat is a
tradition, but a tradition must
change when it is no longer sus-
tainable. There has been a sugges-
tion to import wild meat from
Guyana and Venezuela, but those
countries have sustainability and
enforcement issues of their own;
we should not export our problems
A moratorium will reduce the
overexploitation of wildlife by the
10,000-12,000 legal hunters. It s
not a perfect solution, but it s a
step in the right direction.
A moratorium will not reduce
poaching. Poaching takes place
year-round; only enforcement of
the Conservation of Wildlife Act
will reduce poaching.
Trinidad has about 12 game war-
dens and an auxiliary, part-time
force of 200 honourary game war-
dens. It s not enough to patrol the
island s 4,768 square km.
The answer is clear: A hunting
moratorium must be coupled with a
ban on wild meat sales, together
with adequate enforcement.
Hunters will argue that they fulfil
an important role in the forest.
They will claim that wildlife popu-
lation will become overabundant.
Overabundant is not a scientific
word. If wildlife does ever overpop-
ulate an area, their numbers will
reduce naturally through starvation,
disease and lower fertility. This is
survival of the fittest; it drives evo-
Modern hunting gives hunters an
advantage; it interrupts evolution.
No longer is it the small, sick and
old individual that is removed from
the wild, which is how a natural
predator would select its prey. A
hunter s bullet is faster than the
fastest deer, and no agouti is fleet
enough to outrun a pack of 15
Modern hunting is largely non
selective, and this has led to evolu-
tion in reverse, where the popula-
tion becomes weaker and smaller.
Strong enforcement will make our
natural areas safe for visitor and
citizen alike to enjoy. A scientifical-
ly-based wildlife management poli-
cy, which may or may not include
sustainable hunting, will return
health and vitality to our forests.
We will start to believe in our-
selves as custodians of the natural
realm. We will be doing the right
The ecotourism brand of T&T
will become a strong one, because
the product will speak for itself.
Biodiversity, tourism, economy and
legislation will be locked in an
It could really happen, and a
hunting moratorium could be the
catalyst to drive it all. It s up to
you, citizen of T&T. Let your voice
• Marc de Verteuil is a director of
Papa Bois Conservation
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, August 19, 2013
A well established Surgical Supplies Company
is looking for a
To drop off and pick up instruments and implants to various
Assist Logistics Officer in washing/ packing of instruments.
Run errands with office staff.
Support office maintenance.
• Must have a valid driver's licence.
Must have a good working, reliable vehicle.
Attention to details.
Please Send Resume to:
43 Church Street, St. James
Marc de Verteuil
T&T NEEDS HUNTING MORATORIUM Tears shed
for East PoS
My heart goes out to the
young lives lost in Port-of-
This is a wake up call to
this nation that we need all
forces out and armed, ready
to take control of this
situation and remind these
criminals they are not
The Prime Minister should
reinstate the lock down in
these areas as they had last
year with the joint police
patrols and camps. I am
positive the residents are
begging for this but are too
afraid to speak out.
Why are we allowing these
people to paralyse the nation
This did not affect just
Port-of-Spain East you know,
it affected me here in St
Joseph, as I cried watching
the pictures of these young
children plastered all over the
news. I also think some
needs to be taken up with the
We need our army and
police joint patrols more than
ever now. The Opposition
Leader indicated his intention
to work with Government on
the present crime situation.
Does that mean he will
finally reply to the AG's
correspondence on the
hanging bill, or come with
some amendments to make
this Defence Bill work?
I am not even seeing the
MP for the area. What have
they been doing this whole
time to encourage
community involvement and
unity? Where is the
intervention? Don't they
realise they have a role to
play too. But I guess they will
just blame the Government.
It's a syndrome.
Abu Bakr and me
Morality seems to be one
of those much abused
concepts depending on the
agenda of those who invoke
it. The PNM came into office
in 1956 with the promise to
institute morality in public
affairs and we saw how that
pledge was realised.
In the 18-18 tie of 2001,
ANR Robinson preferred
Manning as Prime Minister
and the PNM as government
on the basis of moral and
spiritual values. Shortly
afterwards, Panday was to
declare that politics had a
morality of its own.
Now comes along a self-
righteous columnist in a
newspaper pontificating on
morality and, in his delusional
consciousness, has concluded
that Abu Bakr and myself are
in the same category.
This can only be the
product of a bilious and
This armchair exponent of
morality was never involved
in public life, is not known to
stand for anything
progressive and has never
been heard to fight for any
cause but presumes to be a
custodian of moral values.
However, the examples
which he proffers are quite
amusing. I can say without
fear of contradiction that in
my 20 years of parliamentary
life I have never been accused
of corruption and, while I am
no paragon of virtue, my
morality has never been
brought into question except
now by someone with a
massive bee in his bonnet.
It's Your Write
post should be
sent to the
Links Archive August 18th 2013 August 20th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page