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Tobago Cays Press Release
28th March 2004
FROM: Friends of the Tobago Cays
PRISTINE NATIONAL PARK AND FILM LOCATION OF ‘PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN’ NOW UNDER THREAT OF PRIVATISATION
The area of the Tobago Cays is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. Found in the Caribbean country of St Vincent and the Grenadines, the uninhabited Tobago Cays offer a natural, pristine anchorage, palm-lined white sand beaches, unique island formations and a coral reef system of great environmental importance.
It is the rare beauty of the area, and particularly the tiny island of Petit Tabac that made the Tobago Cays a film location of choice for the deserted island scenes in the box office hit of 2003, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, starring Johnny Depp and Keira Knightley.
The Tobago Cays are legally established as a Wildlife Reserve and Marine Conservation Area, as well as a National Park. However, the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines is currently considering a proposal that would hand over the management of this pristine area to Palm Island Resorts Limited, a company which is seeking to develop the area for private interests and financial gain.
The prospect of this national treasure falling into the hands of private foreign interests in a for-profit venture, has raised concerns at local, regional and international levels. Many consider the proposed arrangement between the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines and Palm island Resorts Limited to be a threat, both to the protection of the environmental heritage of the area as well as to the livelihood of many, both locally and regionally, who depend on the Tobago Cays as the centrepiece of the marine tourism industry. Additionally, experts in the field of conservation and Marine Park management have indicated that the holistic privatisation of a marine park in favour of for-profit interests could set a dangerous precedent at both regional and international levels.
In response to this threat, local individuals, with the support of regional and international experts and organisations, have facilitated the formation of the Friends of The Tobago Cays. This non-governmental, apolitical and not-for-profit organisation has been founded to ensure the protection of the Tobago Cays as a sustainable national heritage, and to ensure that the area is managed in a way that satisfies public interests rather than private, for-profit interests.
The Friends of the Tobago Cays would like to encourage the support of all who believe in the protection of the environment to find out more about this issue and to join in the effort to protect this beautiful part of the world for future generations.