Today’s Opinion: “Swim with the dolphins”

POSTED: 03/1/11 12:44 PM

Rumors about plans for a dolphinarium in St. Maarten have been persistent during the past month or so. But while the opponents of such a project are sharpening their proverbial knives, there is no irrefutable proof that such a plan is indeed in the making.
This newspaper approached Public Works Minister Theo Heyliger already some time ago with the question whether he was aware of such a plan. Heyliger answered our text message with the words, “I am not aware of official plans for such a project at this time.”
We focused on the word official in this reply, and decided to take the matter to a party that is rumored to be involved in the dolphinarium: Royal Caribbean International. And there, something weird happened. We have been stonewalled for weeks.
We emailed a Ms. Sierra at Royal Caribbean on January 26th, but she turned out to be on maternity leave. The same day we forwarded the question to her colleague Janet Diaz. Then we approached Maria Torres, the press contact for the Caribbean. All these efforts had the same result: zip.
We received no reply.
We called Torres in the past month numerous times. Every time we left a number to call back, but she never did.
We did get in touch with a warm body at the Investor Relations department of Royal Caribbean. Initially, Carlos Moya was very helpful. He referred our request to the appropriate department, but we never received a call or an email.
We called Mr. Moya back once, and he gave us the name and the number of someone who ought to know about investment plans for dolphinariums in St. Maarten. The name of the contact has slipped our mind, but we do remember that this contact was always away from her desk, and we also remember that she never returned our calls.
So what is going on here? While a storm is brewing on the island and beyond our shores, as a letter to the editor from in reader in Meppel shows, Royal Caribbean is simply sticking its head in the sand, its associates are too incompetent to dial a phone number that happens to be outside of the United States, or the company simply refuses put its cards on the table, knowing darn well that a dolphinarium-plan anywhere in the world is a controversial project that could damage its bottom line before it starts showing any returns.
So for the moment, the rumors will remain what they are – rumors. But stories like this do not just pop up out of nowhere, though we have to admit that at this moment we are as baffled about it as the next guy.
For what it’s worth, we suggest that tourists and locals alike who feel like swimming with the dolphins do so in nature, not with animals that are kept in captivity for entertai

Did you like this? Share it:
Today's Opinion: "Swim with the dolphins" by

Comments are closed.