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Online petition seeks to stop return of Dolphin Discovery

A new petition against the return of Dolphin Discovery in the Virgin Islands (VI) have amassed some 2400 signatures as of Monday, October 7, 2019, on the platform designed to start campaigns, mobilise supporters, and working with decision-makers to drive solutions. Photo:
Persons have since started adding their voice to the conversation to spark the change, one signatory Natasha Ruscheinski, Based in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, said 'Keeping dolphins in captivity is extremely cruel. The BVI has so much to offer tourists without stooping to animal cruelty simply to make a profit.' Photo:
Persons have since started adding their voice to the conversation to spark the change, one signatory Natasha Ruscheinski, Based in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, said 'Keeping dolphins in captivity is extremely cruel. The BVI has so much to offer tourists without stooping to animal cruelty simply to make a profit.' Photo:
The Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government announced reciently that it is working towards facilitating the return of Dolphin Discovery’s Swim with the Dolphins at Prospect Reef, Tortola. Photo: VINO/File
The Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government announced reciently that it is working towards facilitating the return of Dolphin Discovery’s Swim with the Dolphins at Prospect Reef, Tortola. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - A petition against the return of Dolphin Discovery in the Virgin Islands (VI) has amassed some 2400 signatures as of Monday, October 7, 2019, on the platform designed to start campaigns, mobilise supporters, and working with decision-makers to drive solutions.

Gov't & Investors finalising contracts 

Launched by Neil Day on October 5, 2019, with a target of 2500 signatures, he noted, "Very little good news came about as a result of Hurricane Irma which decimated our Virgin Islands in 2017. One bit of positivity, however, was the destruction of the captive dolphin facility and tourist attraction run by Dolphin Discovery."

On October 2, 2019, during a press conference at Brandywine Bay Restaurant, the Government of the Virgin Islands (VI) had announced it was close to finalising contractual arrangements with the Management of Dolphin Discovery that would result in the commencement of works at a section of Prospect Reef Hotel and Resort to facilitate the return of ‘Swim with the Dolphins’.

The internationally acclaimed Dolphin Discovery’s Swim with the Dolphins is seen as a key component of the VI’s tourism product, especially for cruise passengers.

However, following the storms of September 2017, the Prospect Reef area which housed Dolphin Discovery was completely ravaged by the hurricanes and left abandoned by the National Democratic Party (NDP). Investors had accused the Dr. D. Orlando Smith administration of 'not giving a damn' after numerous attempts to revive the area into a thriving economic hub failed.    

Abuse & Exploitation?

Now, according to the petition, Dolphin Discovery and the use of dolphins for entertainment is now an outdated form of entertainment, that should not be brought back to the territory.

"The practice of exploiting these intelligent, social animals is out of step with the modern world, basic decency and increasingly, the law, as countries, most recently Canada, continue to ban this vile exploitation," it said. 

The petition further said many travel companies, including Tripadvisor, "have stopped promoting or selling tickets to captive dolphin programmes as they distance themselves from those that seek to profit from evil."

Persons have since started adding their voice to the conversation to spark the change. One signatory, Natasha Ruscheinski, based in Tortola, said "Keeping dolphins in captivity is extremely cruel. The BVI has so much to offer tourists without stooping to animal cruelty simply to make a profit."

Hon Shareen D. Flax- Charles leads initiative 

According to Premier Fahie, the Junior Minister for Tourism, Honourable Shareen D. Flax- Charles (AL) has been tasked with realising the return of Dolphin Discovery and the aim is to have the tourist attraction in place for the next height of the [2020] cruise tourism season.

“She (Hon Flax-Charles) has already brought all the players to the table, discussions have been had and the leg work is being completed, led by her, and being overlooked by the Premier’s Office,” he said.

This is not the first time a petition of this nature has been launched against Dolphin Discovery in the VI. In 2014 an Italy based Dora Marchi had petitioned the VI government, specifically Myron V. Walwyn, then Minister of Education and Culture; Dr Kedrick D. Pickering, the then Minister for Natural Resources and Labour and Mr Boyd McCleary, CMG, CVO, the then Governor and Mrs V. Inez Archibald, the former Deputy Governor, to close the facility and release the animals.


50 Responses to “Online petition seeks to stop return of Dolphin Discovery”

  • double standard (07/10/2019, 13:49) Like (45) Dislike (31) Reply
    Always loud to defend animals but not a wimp when there are cruelty and inhumane treatment against Black people. Where are your voices then?! Thought so. Black Lives Matter
    • agreed (07/10/2019, 13:52) Like (43) Dislike (31) Reply
      Always some way to keep us starved. Check out the people petitioning this..where they from..Aparthied countries. Always know what good fur us
      • facts (07/10/2019, 19:52) Like (23) Dislike (8) Reply
        Do you even know the definition of Apartheid?
      • SMH (07/10/2019, 20:03) Like (5) Dislike (9) Reply
        @agreed why won’t you be brave and say who you are then lead a petition to bring them here. Oh never thought about that! You’ll just make noise but a no show. That’s human’s biggest issue.
    • Wait..n (07/10/2019, 15:50) Like (33) Dislike (5) Reply
      What the difference between swim with the dolphins and the damn zoo? Or even the shows they have at universal studios?
      • @Well (08/10/2019, 22:42) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        The moral and social practices of the Amerkka and other places are the standard?
        Hope you are not raising children.
    • Hmm (07/10/2019, 20:01) Like (11) Dislike (5) Reply
      @double standard You’ll humans to stubborn and ungrateful. That’s human’s only issue but one that’s killing humans. Animals over humans like you any day!!
    • Winston (07/10/2019, 20:42) Like (24) Dislike (5) Reply
      This issue has been argued in many countries around the world. Only in the BVI does it turn in to a racial issue immediately.
    • Lives matter (08/10/2019, 10:11) Like (0) Dislike (7) Reply
      Red or yellow black or white their are Precious in his sight - Life matters. Stop limiting to back cause 99% of the people who sell drugs to our people are black, 90% of the people who killed people in the BVI are black, the person who shot the 13 year old girl was black.. lives matter. But black lives matter only sometimes? Why not all the time??
  • jack (07/10/2019, 14:15) Like (25) Dislike (15) Reply
    Look how much places use animals all over the world, where are those petitions?
    • SMH (07/10/2019, 20:05) Like (11) Dislike (6) Reply
      Cause you only looking at local Facebook. Local Facebook ain’t world news. Ever herd of PETE? Guest not because your mind won’t let you think for yourself, wait don’t think for yourself.
  • Go Siddung (07/10/2019, 14:26) Like (40) Dislike (13) Reply
    Having an animal captive does not mean evil or cruelty. Why having a pet dog tied, pet bird in a cage, children in school, wife in a house, horse in a stable, an adult going to work, fish in a tank is considered cruel and evil? If having dolphins captive for amusement is evil and cruel i suggest we free all animals and persons and let them roam the earth as they please, with dogs and pets becoming wild and humans becoming vagrants. More important issues to cast attntion to and dolphins are magically important! Please just go SIDDUNG with this petition.
    • Second this (07/10/2019, 15:39) Like (19) Dislike (2) Reply
      Walking a dog on the hot road isn’t that evil also...stamping on the roaches with your shoes
    • ... (07/10/2019, 20:08) Like (5) Dislike (7) Reply
      @go siddung hows that kind mindset being working for you as an individual? I’m happy you do actually call the final say! However just used your smart phone and visit goggle and read or ask Siri to read for you.
      • Go Siddung (07/10/2019, 23:29) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
        Its amazing that a drowning man will clutch to a straw. No sense in tearing down another individual for grammatical errors when the message was received clearly. Get your head out of the sand with that mindset of yours and sit down from shooting the breeze.
        • Whats the issue (08/10/2019, 06:46) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
          R they trying to stop the investment or asking for a new location... To stop the investment is crazy. A new location is reasonable...
    • ... (08/10/2019, 17:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Thinking outside the box... I like it.

      In addition we need to petition an end to this siddung meme. It sounds stupid.
      It was born of foreign people mocking the people of the BVI.

      This is what we say, when we say it *ahem* "Go sit yuh a.. down!"
  • Concerned (07/10/2019, 14:48) Like (24) Dislike (17) Reply
    How can we call out the cruise ship companies by name for requesting/requiring the re-opening? There must be some way to embarrass cruise ship companies into rescinding their requests. Zoos are closing globally, Sea World, etc. Who/how many locals are REALLY benefiting from this business? The BVI has so much more beautiful, humane, and local revenue-generating businesses than this sick practice.
  • dude (07/10/2019, 14:53) Like (21) Dislike (3) Reply
    We are such activists for Sharks and dolphins around here but will watch each other drowning and never bat an eye to help. I Wonder if we created zoo's and circuses around here...
  • A man (07/10/2019, 15:34) Like (23) Dislike (5) Reply
    Only one family benefits from this. i think they be rich enough already.
    • ...really (08/10/2019, 12:31) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
      Call a name... we all know what you want to say. Years people like you have nothing good to say. Setta hypocrites round the place.
  • island man (07/10/2019, 15:39) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    Are all those signatures from local ppl.
    • Guessing (08/10/2019, 18:44) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      I am guessing that just about 10% of the signatures on the petition are from locals or maybe even less. All others names i am sure are from timbuktu.
  • Patriotic (07/10/2019, 15:55) Like (11) Dislike (7) Reply
    I always believe that human lives come first . I also believe that animals need to be protected .However animal rights activist have a wider audience in the bvi than let say the recent breast cancer walk or anything to do with human lives and this is an imported mentality. Human lives and Human welfare should and always be priority over animals. lots of people suffering from various illnesses and deseases but no one is magnifying that.
  • concern (07/10/2019, 16:03) Like (10) Dislike (3) Reply
    Lets talk about human lives first. How many british national took part in any walk or events that highlight various chronic illnesses in bvi . We are certainly divided , I am not sure whether its a cultural ,racial or racism thing but when it comes to cat and dogs we are there by the hundreds .
    • eyes wide shut (07/10/2019, 19:30) Like (17) Dislike (23) Reply
      I know this is the more xenophobic news blog but still. Expats regularly initiate and support both health related charities as well as sports, education and BVI cultural causes. Don’t kid yourselves.

      The Dolphin prison is a pretty crappy project that will be seen negatively by the majority of our potential overnight visitors. Most companies are moving away from this stupidity for a mixture of commercial and ethical reasons. What is even more surprising is the apparent support for barbaric treatment of God’s creatures in such an allegedly Christian place.
  • BVI Belonger (07/10/2019, 17:13) Like (28) Dislike (5) Reply
    They used to move the dolphins into the Prospect Reef swimming pool during storms/hurricanes (I witnessed this first hand when trying to swim the day before a storm a few years ago). Disgusting. I hope this business never returns.

    All these comments spewing racist / religious nonsense further show how backwards we are as a nation.
    • please (07/10/2019, 20:04) Like (3) Dislike (12) Reply

      I went to SeaWorld Orland this Summer 2019, and I watched Shamu shows for an hour in a packed venue. The only difference is before the trainers used to go in and swim with the whales but now they don't. My Kids sat in the splash zone and had a terrific time. Nothing cruel about that. There was a show every hour. At the close of day, the whales have a special part deep in the ocean that is secured for the next day. In the BVI everyone always want to tell us what is right from what is wrong, just because we are a small island. Try interfering with bigger nations, oh, wait, you won't. I agree better measures should be put in place to have them secured during storms, but I am sure collective heads can get together and come to a common ground. Everything always an issue in BVI. We will never move forward if there is always some negativity, especially from persons who don't even mingle outside of their w***e circle, i.e, Caribbean people. Always trying to act like they know best and smarter than everyone else.

      • @Please (07/10/2019, 20:56) Like (14) Dislike (1) Reply
        Please watch the documentary ‘Blackfish’ on netflix and see if you still feel the same. Captivity of any sort severely damages their psychological wellbeing. I think you may also have been sold a bit of a lie in terms of where they are kept when they are not working for our pleasure. Its simply a matter of time until the whole world see’s how backward this form of amusement is and bans it internationally. The entire country of Canada, Virgin, and Trip advisor have all stopped endorsing such excursions because of its cruelty. Get with the times BVI.
  • Set of white liberals (07/10/2019, 17:21) Like (5) Dislike (21) Reply
    Tell them people go kick rocks let the dolphins in
    • @setofwhiteliberals (07/10/2019, 23:02) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
      I think you’ll find that contrary to your comment, there are people of all colours and backgrounds that don’t believe in animal cruelty. If only you had even half the brains of a dolphin, you might actually say something of meaning one day. Until then, I guess that unfortunately we’ll have to put up with your racist nonsense.
  • Islandgal (07/10/2019, 19:18) Like (15) Dislike (1) Reply
    This is a black white thing - but not in the way most people commenting seem to think. We are a tiny destination and when the white tree huggers who are the ones spending their $$$ to get here and be tourists see us reopening Dolphin Discovery it’s us who will lose in the long run. We’ve all seen the fuss made over a fat donkey tied to a tree! Can you imagine what they will say when they are asked to swim in a garbage patch by the side of the road crammed with tired sunburned dolphins! ?? We will get the short end of the stick. All a we - when they fuss on about the wicked BVI and they hustle their butts elsewhere.
  • kkk (07/10/2019, 22:50) Like (15) Dislike (13) Reply

    Just sick of these w****e rac**t living in the bvi trying to tell us what to do

    They need to go repent for slavery and what they did to the jews

    • @kkk (08/10/2019, 06:43) Like (0) Dislike (10) Reply
      U R so right. We have a very very weak labour department..U won't believe how fast their permits get approved....We can never get justice or good representation from labour. . Still we can't blame them ... We open the door wide for them n want to shut it in our Caribbean people face... They have secret plan ... Come together and take over. ... Then again u can't blame them.. They understand that unity is strength..
    • @kkk (08/10/2019, 11:17) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      How on earth do you know what colour the people are that are arguing this?
  • Outsider (08/10/2019, 05:02) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
    Ain't this the same family entity who the government bailed out with their local tax issue. They don't employ LOCALS and treat their staff like crap. They are only in this for self gain. They have NOT even cleaned up that area since Irma. And the water there is no different to when the government close Cane beach
  • Crasy People (08/10/2019, 06:37) Like (2) Dislike (10) Reply

    Never see a petition to get Cable TV to pay their workers. Never see a petition to get R T. R w a big super market n popular to keep their workers after the Storm they benefit the most from the Storm. Never see a petition for that ... I can go on and on about the real things that deserve petition. These are just selfish people trying to stop progress... Premier Fahie is wise.... He understands their motives... I'm sure another Caribbean island would be glad to have them....

  • See (08/10/2019, 07:08) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    This discussion has gotten sad at so many levels and Its difficult to come to grips with all of the negative feelings surfacing here . The dolphin issue now seems to be one of the least of our problems , and yes that is tragic and dangerous for our territory . We are better than this I pray .
  • Jordana (08/10/2019, 07:55) Like (9) Dislike (6) Reply
    I don’t understand why this issue has to be a racial issue..I personally don’t agree with the petition.. I visited dolphin discovery many times; yes they were held but I never once thought they were abused/looked abused..even some days after a long and tiring day at work I would visit there and I’d find so relaxing, peaceful and healing .. the serenity of just seeing them swimming and being playful..I don’t think anything is wrong with bringing them back for both children and adults enjoy them as well.. I believe that they should be protected from Harm, that they receive no harsh treatment from their trainers etc and that they are treated with dignity.. I am not looking at this from an economic point of view (tho it can be) but rather a simple form of enjoyment that is mentally satisfying in more ways than one.. I love animals but I disagree with the petition for I don’t see this as a form of inhuman treatment of the dolphins..we have more important things to petition about e.g the insane cost of rent, food . Pay wages inclusive of the minimum wage
  • whataboutery (08/10/2019, 12:47) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    So many bloggers seek to discredit this petition by mentioning other problems which are more important. They clearly know nothing of "Whataboutism" - have a read:
    Whataboutism, also known as whataboutery, is a logical fallacy that attempts to discredit an opponent's position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument.

    If you are passionate about minimum wage, slavery reparations, the condition of the roads, the standards of education you are free to start your own petition, organise a protest, write to your District Rep. All it takes is You: stop complaining and start being the change You wanted to see in the World!

    The dolphin prison is certainly not the biggest problem in BVI. If you are a BVIslander your opinion matters, you are a voter. You speak up for what matters to You. The politician could care less what the ex-pats say, haven't you noticed this by now?
  • Lets be Rational (08/10/2019, 12:49) Like (5) Dislike (3) Reply
    I give anyone the right who has lived in the BVI for more than 10-15 years to fight for what they believe in. People of the soil have the right to be heard over anyone who just randomly decides to come and live here because they can afford to do so.
    Petition signers I invite you to post up your yearly incomes. You have our permission to protest if you can do this one simple thing. The difference between us islanders and you will always be very significant.
    Persons who can live comfortably while stunting the growth of others have no right to complain, plain and simple. I have never once seen those dolphins mistreated from the very first day they were brought in. Yes the facility could be much larger, that we can all agree on. But the trainers and staff have treated those lovely animals like family which im sure you were never there to see or witness.
    The request for the dolphins were made by the cruise industry. That is more income for those of us already struggling to make ends meet in this place we call home. We don’t come to your country and take the bread out your hands do we? If this is a cause you can actively fight for I would like to see you more active in local matters. Fix those and we will be more inclined to listen to your concerns.
  • World Gone Mad (08/10/2019, 16:59) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    The whole world exhibit a sense of cruelty. You work, you have to pay taxes. You basically have to pay to live. As it relates to animal cruelty, the elites are trying to create the way of life. If the elites in the world starts a petition or believes the world should go in a certain direction, just like gay marriages, these things would be highlighted and fought for. Have Dolphins in a an area that they are cared for and used for recreational purposes is no different than having a DOG as a pet who is under the command of an owner, locked within a certain perimeter. I see no difference what so ever.
    • Queen Mary (08/10/2019, 19:25) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      I am so dissappointed in the seemingly resistance by locals,my people to the idea of freeing the dolphins. The world has changed folks. There is a new consciousness globally .Natures Little Secret with captive animals as entertainment is not a good look. The Greatest Show on Earth aka Barnum and Bailey Circus gave its final performance in May 1917 after being a travelling circus since 1871...Thousands of employees were terminated. Hundreds of animals...Donkey,horse,goats,elephants,,zebras,lion,zebras,tiger,camel every thing returned to their habitat and unfetterd because of the movement.. I am tryin presently to find a golfdfish and a parakeet for my young ones and cant find a store here in NYC where these franchise pet stores were a dime a dozen . Out of business ,they have become bankrupt and folded.
      Rarely do you see a fur coat. Freeing the dolphins in the VI must happen. Our Bread can be buttered via some other way. Kiss these beautiful, intellgent, sensitive and gentle creatures good bye and let them be free. What others are doing with animals in other countries does not make it right. We are better than that!!!
      • Hush (08/10/2019, 20:51) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
        Hush Queen Mary, you not really from here son you have no feelings for people like us...while you at it, let those cats and dogs back in the wild if that is how you really feel
        • @hush (08/10/2019, 22:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          You are from Mars .
          I am from Venus
          I am from here
          You are a hybrid wnting to be " people like us"
          People like us have open minds and place our conscience before stubborn stupidity just to be -right.
  • Wow (08/10/2019, 18:48) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    Who are the persons signing the petition? Are they living here? We cannot let other people stop development in the BVI. Jobs will be created for some locals here.
  • @therealdonald (08/10/2019, 22:37) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is another example of what would be called out as the division between “expats” and belongers. But what is missed is that the expats only want the best for both the BVI and the world - the world has changed and this is not a positive development for the long term tourism product of the BVI (in my humble opinion). BVI has a choice to make butnif it goes for the lowest form of tourism it may as well go whole hog - casinos, all inclusive resorts and all the rest. Personally I would take the hint from the cruise association and invest in local history / identity.

    Ps is the noisy racist lady still working for the tourist board? If I were her employer I would have considered whether that position is compatible with such a public viewpoint.

  • You are right (10/10/2019, 17:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dolphin prison is not the biggest problem in and for the prosperity of the BVI. It's education. With education, people would understand the difference between keeping a pet dog and animal cruelty. It's not nice to be indentured and work in the sun all day, tortured for entertainment and with no freedom...

    If you think taking care of Earth is a race thing, it is. But not how you portray it - We all stand to lose as environments get destroyed but disproportionately, Africa and island nations around the tropics are being negatively affected.

    Do not pretend that a handful of locals and Mexicans who used to work there are completely incapable of getting a job outside of the Dolphin prison industry.

    It would be ridiculous to pretend that non-belongers are all white or are somehow not contributing incredibly highly to the BVI's economy, infrastructure and future prospects.

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