Small Islands Voice Global Forum
Safeguarding freedom of choice
Emile Louis responds to the views of forum readers with some more information about the Pigeon Point case.
I want all those who have joined the discussion on this forum about beach access at Pigeon Point to know that my previous public naming of the landowner and of the companies that make up the Group of Companies that acquired the Pigeon Point Estate has resulted in the filing of a writ (court order) against me and the ‘Tobago News’ newspaper that published the information. Perhaps because of this, Small Island Voice may have chosen to edit out the particulars that many of you are seeking and that I am willing to divulge if a way can be found to do so.
I am advocating a boycott against the goods and services offered for public consumption by the Group of Companies. I am not trying to persuade the Group to abandon their proposed tourist resort investment. Instead I am asking people to join this boycott in an effort to peacefully persuade the Group to share the beach, the sea, the jetty (which is also in the sea) and other public spaces on the periphery of the estate equally and amicably with all others who traditionally use the coast for legitimate business and pleasure purposes.
The writ (court order) that has been issued is intended to stop the boycott by stifling the information that supporters need and it is obviously achieving its purpose so far. Any suggestions around this?
We have The State Lands Act and The Three Chains Tobago Act that can be enforced as existing national laws to remedy the situation. But those in tune with the reality of the developing world, of which Tobago is a part, will understand the difficulties of applying and implementing these laws.
The ‘All Tobago Fisherfolk Association’ of which I am President is at the forefront of this struggle for equal rights at Pigeon Point. We rely almost totally on public opinion to persuade our elected representatives to represent our interests. We therefore value the global exposure provided by this forum and we value the contribution of all of you who are concerned enough to write. Please don’t stop.
There must be some worthwhile benefit in tourism for locals and I will do nothing to deny the rights of those who opt to search for it. I have opted for a future based on sustainable fishing from the Pigeon Point Beach and the sea that surrounds the 114 square miles (295 square kilometres) of Tobago.
I want the world to know our chosen option as a guarantee that our freedom to choose is safeguarded.
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