Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Antigua leaders involved in "Blood Money"

yellowfin tuna
Once again the Japanese Government have succeeded in influencing our government, press and our people. Like in the past this manipulation comes in the form of (free $) fisheries grants. We have had several large fisheries plants designed and built by Japanese here in Antigua. With no proper study done on the type of fishing that would be sustainable and profitable these Japanese plants were quickly errected after feeding the politicians a pile of propaganda about how good they would be for the people of Antigua. Since the ones here in Antigua have been finished there has not been in increase in production. In fact our depleated fishery with it's terrible lack of funding for proper management has suffered as a result of these things. If a fraction of the money was spent on careful management then Antigua would be be better off. Ask our fisheried why the protected area within the NEMA have not been protected. Simply because they don't have the money to get it done. Meanwhile Japan calls the shots and tells our leaders simply that the construction of these plants will help the fishermen. People rent stoor rooms in the fisheries plant at Urlings to stoor household items and little boats tie up there to do the same type of non sustainable fishing that they have been doing for generations. There is no fish exported properly from there. Gill nets still are set in the reefs and in the mangrove habitats, fish traps are dumped wherever the fishemen want with no proper monitering of their movements. "Protected areas" are not protected and generally our fishery suffers. The areas where sustainable fishing is possible are not promoted to our fishermen and at the end of the day the only people winning are the Japanese. Why are they winning?

All of the support Japan gives to Antigua financially and otherwise is purely done to buy our country's vote on international whaling at the IWC. The IWC (international whaling convention) was set up as an international body to regulate international whaling (whale killing). Antigua was always against the killing of whales until the Japanese government started giving the Government millions of dollars for its vote. Tens of millions of US dollars (over 50 million) have been given to Antigua's governments (both ALP and UPP) in the forms of fisheries related "grants". I wasn't able to dig up clear stats but you can read more from their site here. And more here. Some of that official info is a total fabrication too in order to fool their own people. The Japanese government has also been involved with a propaganda war using the media both printed, web and televised to almost brain wash the people of these islands. You sometimes see full page ads where they speak about whales killing the fish that local people make money from. PURE BS! I hate seeing educated people (nations in this case) manipulate people because of their lack of education. They always use the arguement that we have to protect the right of our people to use their fisheries how they see fit. I agree with that notion, but my idea is based on facts and not on profit making manipulation. Education is the key like in most cases i guess. Most Antiguans don't know much about any of this in the same way that most don't know we have whales passing through our waters each year. Propaganda is a tried and true way of fooling uneducated people. Speaking of Japanese propaganda check this site. To really learn why it is crazy that our leaders talk about being "Green" and speak about sustainable development and sustainable fishing check this very interesting article that tries to put some of these issues into perspective. One of groups they speak about out there trying to stop the Japanese slaughter of whales is Sea Shepherd. Two people here in Antigua that i know very well worked on that boat. It's very upsetting to know that our government is out there taking money from Japan so that they can kill more whales. I think we should send money (if we have a bit extra) to that mad man on Sea Shepherd to counter the efforts of our Government. Don't get me wrong I do think Sea Shepherd is a crazy organization, but I am glad that there is such a bunch of crazies out there taking photos and videos of this dark and horrific practice of whale slaughter. I'm also glad that the Animal Planet network is doing the terrible things the Japanese Government says its doing by showing Whale Wars on TV. It's a shame that Greenpeace pulled out this year.
Dominica took the bold stance recently to abstain from voting at the IWC in what appeared to be a change in their policy which had been one of accepting Japanese money to vote with them. Some call that practice taking blood money some call it taking bribes. Call it what you want. Dominca didn't want to take part anymore. They after all are called the "nature island" and do many whale watching tours. The images below were taken by me here in Antigua. How can we be involved in tourism and be helping Japan to kill whales at the same time? Our leaders (now the UPP government) like the photo ops and the record of "development" and don't think like the Dominicans. Yesterday Japanese leaders here met with ours for a back slapping photo op where they spoke about the new "mega fisheries complex" to be built in Barbuda. The media reported it but never mentioned anything about whales or our support for the Japanese hunt for whales...... the same whales we see here in Antigua. Sometimes i get so frustrated at how easily our press is manipulated in the same manner at the political leaders and in turn our people. To me, this article is so sad because it isn't even slightly balanced. I guess it helps when the person writing it is employed by the Government and works in the Ministy of Agriculture. To me the article is propaganda, and f you think so too then please comment there. I don't know if it will influence many readers but it's worth a try.