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Tobago Cays

By Dominique Stowe

The SVG Coast Guard is the nation’s principal law enforcement authority on the waters od St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Its mission includes maritime safety, marine environmental protection, search and rescue, drug and migrant interdiction, fisheries enforcement and defence readiness.

The small boat operators operating out of the Southern Grenadines raise a lot of concerns. There are a number of issues that need addressing immediately, for example, rubbish disposal and cleanliness, operation of vendors at the Tobago Marine Park and Salt Whistle Bay, security at Salt Whistle Bay and, most of all, the queuing of small boat operators at the point outside Salt Whistle Bay, where there is no control over who go first or second to welcome the yachtees.

As a result, I am calling on the hierarchy of the Coast Guard to address these concerns by going to the relevant organisation that will assist. The reason why I am calling on you is that there is a Coast Guard base on Canouan and a dispatched boat is supposed to be located in Mayreau. However, it seems it has disappeared. Therefore, it is the duty of the Coast Guard to report these issued that I outline below in recommending what should be done on the beautiful island of Mayreau.

Garbage disposal and cleanliness at Salt Whistle Bay

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1. Create a comprehensive zero waste action plan
2. Educate the public on recyclable material processing and eco-conscious purchasing practices.
3. Discourage single-use plastic bags on Mayreau
4. Recycling and waste management in Salt Whistle dwellings
5.  Provide accessible recycle bins at Salt Whistle Bay to ALL small businesses
6. The National Marine Park should place rubbish bins on Salt Whistle Bay especially. It is important not to throw or discard rubbish or plastic into the sea, because sea turtles may eat the plastic, mistaking it for jellyfish, and die from suffocation. A lot is happening at Salt Whistle Bay.
7.  Collaborate quarterly with the yachties and businesses to create waste reduction and recycling programmes, including a zero waste lunch programme.

Regulating small boat operators

1. There must be operating procedures in place to control the small boat operators when approaching yachties who are entering and leaving Salt Whistle Bay
2. This must be manned the Tobago Cays Marine Park rangers on a daily basis
3. All small boat operators must wear a life jacket whilst in transit
(4)  Coast Guard Canouan should train all small boat operators on the topic “safety at sea”. This must be done quarterly
(5) ALL small boat operators must dress appropriately and professionally

Operation of vendors at the Tobago Marine Park & Salt Whistle Bay

1.  All new vendors should be required to pay a vendor’s fee with the submission of their new vendor application
3.  Application should also include an up-to-date certificate of character (police record)
4. Certificate and photo identification showing that they have been granted permission to operate within Tobago Cays and Salt Whistle Bay as vendors and small boat operators
5.  If a party or other special event is planned at the Tobago Marine Park and Salt Whistle Bay or any other beach within the Southern Grenadines, patrons may choose their own vending tables as long as they do so through the process and pay their registration fees

Security At Salt Whistle Bay
Safety and security are vital to providing quality in tourism. More than any other economic activity, the success or failure of a tourism destination depends on being able to provide a safe and secure environment for visitors.

There’s an urgent need for police presence at that beach, day and night, to stop the robbing and harassing of tourists.
1. Set up infrared cameras and monitor them 24/7 at the Coast Guard Base in Canouan
2.  Tobago Cays Marine Park needs to take responsibility for the operation of Salt Whistle Bay, by operating a station and working along with the police, Mayreau Patrol and Coast Guard as some 20 plus yachts normally overnight and their occupants go ashore for dinner
Stay tuned. Next,  “Maritime safety: key elements”.


The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

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