Sunday, July 05, 2015
   
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Trot carefully: These are fishy political Machinations

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Commentary

llewlynMr Amba Trott, a respected Nevisian thespian and columnist, took umbrage at the inclusion of Biblical passages in the article headlined ‘What a Fishy Story!’ and to show his disgust, he went ahead and filled up more than half of a newspaper page rambling (to borrow from him) about what he felt was the ‘downright sacrilegious’ use of things Biblical.

 

That is his constitutional right. Such attacks are not new. Deputy Leader of the opposition Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) Mark Brantley (and others) would have gone on national radio several times to lambast leaders of the ruling Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) for speaking metaphorically on public platforms. 

Nevisians, and even Kittitians for that matter, were brought up in typical West Indian homes and cultures where the Bible has always provided solace to their tormented lives. This tradition stems from the days of slavery when after long hours of abuse by the masters, our people would find solace in the comfort of their homes, while reading soothing and uplifting words from the Bible. 

I am a true West Indian and to invoke the word of God in what I say, or write, is no license for Mr. Trott or any other person to question my level of fearing God. Let us not get personal but instead let us address the real concerns that face Nevis as an island. 

I am glad that I did not refer to the passage where Jesus fed 5,000 with only two small fishes, a classic we learnt at home even before we first attended Sunday school. However, if those passages are expunged from the Bible, then there will be no fear of me using them because I cannot quote what is not in the Bible.

 

However, with all due respect to Mr Trott, I humbly put it to him that he has failed to address the pertinent issues raised in the article, other than in two mentions. He only addressed the issue of the project’s location and the issue of Greenpeace, but did not bother to address everything else that was raised in the article. I want to believe he did not have enough space, and he feared that the article might be too long. 

I will start with the Greenpeace issue: He wonders why that had been mentioned in the article but if he takes time to read the article more carefully, he will realise that it was in an answer to a self question, where I had posed: “If the Japanese had agreed to fund the project when the CCM was still in government, why was the signing for the grant done on Friday April 27, 2102? Why the delay?” 

Well, in his selected teardown of what was contained in the ‘fishy story’, Mr Trott has actually said what the CCM activists have been too shy to come out and say in the open: That the Concerned Citizens Movement has been in bed with Greenpeace. That is why they (the CCM activists) have vowed to frustrate the project, and now we know it is because Greenpeace does not want it. 

“Now that (the mention of Greenpeace having been allowed into Nevis schools by the CCM-led administration) sounds very fishy to me,” said Mr Trott. “Most people know very well that Greenpeace aggressively challenges Japan on the issue of whale hunting...... I believe that what Greenpeace was talking against was the perception of bribery in the voting process, i.e. St. Kitts/Nevis votes in Japan’s favour on whaling.” 

The explanation by Mr Trott is capped thus: “Japan reciprocates with various items for St. Kitts/Nevis. A sort of payoff, if you will. That’s the perception and I believe that’s what they were talking against.” 

Mr Trott has said it all. That by the CCM allowing Greenpeace to come to speak in Nevis schools, that they did not want the project to take off, and that the people of St. Kitts/Nevis and Nevis in particular should refuse that money. Well now everyone can see how that is being done -- the objection to the fisheries project is not a matter of its location: It is not wanted. 

According to Mr Trott, “Maybe Greenpeace was doing us a big favour.” What favour? He sneered at the use of a local idiom that only when wind blows that a fowl bottom is exposed, yet Mr Trott has actually revealed who are the people that were referred to in my article that if they had their way... are some persons’ hidden agendas now not exposed? 

Better endowed nations give grants to the less endowed nations, and this has gone on from time immemorial. St. Kitts and Nevis has been receiving grants from nations including the USA, England, Australia, Taiwan and others. To suggest that our beloved country has accepted the Japanese grant in return for a vote is an abuse to the sovereignty of St. Kitts and Nevis.  

Whenever and wherever St. Kitts and Nevis votes, it votes its conscience. In terms of whale hunting at the International Whaling Commission, St. Kitts and Nevis votes in solidarity with St. Vincent and the Grenadines the only OECS country that is allowed to hunt whales. Greenpeace is even opposed to St. Vincent’s one whale a year allocation. 

Greenpeace is made up of a bunch of brats who have their pockets and bank accounts well padded and are willing to spill what is on their tables to draw attention. We are struggling to put more on our tables and we cannot afford the luxury of spilling the little that is being added on our tables by our friends from the Land of the Rising Sun. 

Issues as raised by the Greenpeace that make Mr Trott feel that they had the right to come to Nevis under the invitation of the CCM to stop Japan from giving the EC$30 million grant are more than just voting at the International Whaling Commission (IWC). 

Pro-whaling countries have accused the IWC of basing their decisions upon ‘political and emotional’ factors rather than upon scientific knowledge given that the IWC prohibits all whaling. Non-IWC whaling nations have expressed similar sentiments. 

Canada, a friendly country many Nevisians identify with, withdrew from the IWC after a vote to impose a moratorium (to ban whaling), claiming that “the ban was inconsistent with measures that had just been adopted by the IWC that were designed to allow harvest of stocks at safe levels.” 

Was Canada bribed by Japan? 

Japan gives foreign aid to more than 150 nations around the world and that includes strong anti-whaling nations such as Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and others who receive far more than Caribbean countries receive. These include Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Dominica (which also supports whale watching), St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadine, and of course St. Kitts and Nevis. 

If Japan was buying votes, one would see 150 nations in the IWC and as a consequence the unnecessary moratorium would have been lifted years ago. Major anti-whaling nations such as the USA, Australia, UK and New Zealand also donate aid to poor countries on the IWC and wield for more influence than Japan alone, and thus they could easily be accused of the same tactics 

Japan gives aid. But let Mr Trott hear this, if he did not hear it before: In 2005, the Environmental Investigation Agency approached Lord Ashcroft of the UK to use his influence in Belize to assure support for the anti-whaling camp. It was reported that Ashcroft paid Belize’s International Whaling Commission fees.

“Every month I’m on the water somewhere,” Lord Ashcroft is quoted as saying. “I’ve grown a close affinity, not just for whales, but for dolphins and porpoise. So it wasn’t difficult for me to approach the Belizean authorities with such a brief.” 

He discovered that Belize’s annual subscription to the IWC (£10,000) had lapsed and came up with the cash. That backing yielded swift results when a crucial vote was won by the anti-whaling nations by a majority of one. 

What does Mr Amba Trott call that? 

Many years ago, dinosaurs roamed the earth. They are no more -- extinct. Did the Japanese eat them off the face of the earth? Recent studies have indeed suggested that dinosaurs were victims of global warming attributed to their own gas emissions. If the Japanese were around, they would have done scientific research on those giants and probably dinosaurs would still be roaming the earth. 

Leave the Japanese alone. The scientific research they are doing will save the whales from extinction. 

Mr Trott was downright cynical  when he said, “The piece does not explicitly state that the Lord chose Gallows Bay as the site for the new Fisheries Complex, but I would not have been at all surprised if it had as it seemed to be leaning very strongly in that direction.” 

He very well read what Captain Arthur Anslyn had said about the four locations the project would have been sited. My humble submission to Mr Trott is for him to remove his theatrical mask and respect the people of Nevis. Capt Anslyn was not in the employ of the CCM-led Nevis Island Administration as the Director of Fisheries because of his handsome looks but because of his marine life expertise. 

“The reason ‘some people’ would choose a different site for the new fisheries complex is to preserve the whole of Gallows Bay area for the public beach and ancillary developments to enhance tourism and local leisure use and enjoyment,” commented Mr Trott. 

“Obviously a fisheries complex would not be complimentary to the ambiance and aesthetics of such a scheme.” Well said Mr Trott, however if you show me people (other than the hardworking fishermen) basking on Gallows Bay for leisure and enjoyment, I will show you Jonah swimming with the whale -- not getting swallowed without being chewed. 

To fully answer Mr Trott on his suggestion as how to use the Gallows Bay, it calls for a second part of this article. Look out for it next week.


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