Dolphins, DSH, rape. All were in the news this week but the lion’s share of the publicity, the public outrage however convenient, centred on the two developments. The rapes, the domestic violence that claimed so many young lives – setting a record, we’re told – were by comparison largely ignored, save for the gruesome images on TV and Facebook. When I asked a mother if she had seen certain pictures, her response was: “No, I haven’t been watching the news of late. All those reported horrible cutlass choppings, traumatized relatives pouring their hearts out to unfeeling reporters . . . too much for me.”
As I watched people who I know, who hadn’t demonstrated any particular love of animals until now, I had a hard time keeping my own head straight. These same people drive over dead or half dead dogs on our roads without a care. They stone the cows at Choc, just for the hell of it. And I’m supposed to believe they give a damn about dolphins, which most of them have seen only on TV? Don’t get me wrong. I’m with the folks who genuinely believe animals, like people, were never meant to be caged and chained for any purpose whatsoever. But the hypocrisy demonstrated in the name of wildlife and our environment bowled me over. These are the same people who don’t stop to think before pelting all kinds of garbage from their seats on the transit bus, without a thought where it lands; the same people who have over the years turned our waters into cess pools, or permitted it without a word; who lie in wait for unsuspecting turtles that come to Grand Anse Beach to lay their eggs and will never again return to the ocean!
Yes, the National Trust has an important job to do. But the question must be asked: How well has it done that job over the years? The Maria Islet museum in Vieux Fort has been shut without excuse for years. People regularly picnic without interruption on the islet, or they go there to conduct business not altogether legal. Where are the monitors, the guards whose job it is to keep safe from harm those rare snakes and lizards we’re hearing so much about all of a sudden?
The Trust admitted last weekend that it had not seen so many people at one of its meetings in years. Coincidence? I think not. But that’s for a separate discussion entirely!
What I really must ask this week is: When will we start believing in something? I mean, truly believing, and not just when it is convenient. As one show host asked this week: is rape horrific only depending on the identity and status of the perpetrator and his victim? Is the environment worth talking about only when the other party is in office? It’s time we started putting country – including the birds, the bees and the people – first!