Friday, 20 March 2009 4:00 PM

Dolphins and Development

The issue of dolphins in the Solomon Islands is truly a story that stands out. The pros and cons are both heavily agreeable. However, I would like to state that given the current situation and need for financial support I am sure that should the market for dolphin export in the Solomon's open up, a lot of individuals would be well into business by now, who knows? Perhaps this would eventuate. What else is there? Foreign aid is but a boomerang, just look at the number of expatriate advisers in the Solomon's, UN & NGO bosses, private consultants and the list goes on, all working for the lost cause in the Solomon Islands, mind you; tax free.

Seemingly out of this, only Solomon Islanders are yet to benefit. I have been visiting the Solomon's over the past years on an annual basis; with the so called aid packages, pressure for Government reforms, calls for accountability and transparence, things seem to be deteriorating even more rapidly. Those against dolphin exports should assist Solomon Islands to promote the local fauna and flora and get the tourist numbers up. When logging did start in the Solomon's, a lot was said about implications, new social cultures emerging, environmental impacts etc, who helped?

I went around Solomon's and spoke to key logging or intending concession landowners, the response was; "if environmental or individuals against logging can assist with getting butterfly and birds watchers, nature tours, access to eco-tourism etc we wouldn't log, but what option is available when we can't even see a hundred dollars in a month or more a year". If dolphins were protected, would we be seeing tourist or dolphin crazy fans arrive, perhaps ABC or CNN TV, reality check - no tourist, just look at the visitor arrivals for Solomon Islands, data collected reflects; returning Solomon Islanders, consultants and advisors, this is unarguable, just get on a Brisbane to Honiara plane, I dare you!

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Okiyala Sakusimoto and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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