By Ric O’Barry
I recently visited the lovely Dutch island of St. Maarten in the Caribbean, where I had the privilege of meeting directly with the Prime Minister Sarah Westcot-Williams and other government representatives to talk about captivity in dolphins and why St. Martens should ban such activity in their country. The meeting was arranged by our friends at Dolphin Defenders St. Maarten, one of the many grassroots activist groups around the world fighting for dolphins. Also included in the delegation that met with the Prime Minister were Tadzio Bervoets of St. Maarten Nature Foundation, Rueben Thompson of St. Maarten Pride Foundation and EPIC, and Kim Frye and Mercedes De Windt of Dolphin Defenders St. Maarten.
We urged PM Westcot-Williams to consider new legislation banning cetaceans in captivity, putting St. Maarten in the vanguard internationally in protecting dolphins. We also met with Education Minister Rhoda Arrindell and Tourism and Economic Affairs Minister Franklin Meyers.
“This draft law is not about being against something. Rather, proclaiming St Maarten a Dolphin Friendly Country is about being for something. It is for the future, for tourism, for the youth, for St. Maarten. If the youth of St Maarten get this law passed they will move on to bigger and better things, and St. Maarten will be the environmental star of the Caribbean,” I explained.
Dolphin Defenders St. Maarten has already gained 8,000 signatures on their petition for the government.
You can help the effort to protect dolphins in St. Maarten and set a precedent for other countries to follow by signing the petition: