Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

Some negative feedback came back to Ambergris Today on the article we published last week about feeding the crocodiles in the popular column “Donde Esta Debbie”. We never saw people interpreting that we condone the action and call it a tourist attraction to bring visitors from all over the place to come see the feedings. We thank everybody for expressing their ideas and concerns.

Maybe the only mistake that we did was not being 100% clear of the intention of the article. But in the past Ambergris Today has, by published countless articles and pictures in regards to the dangers of feeding the crocodiles and warned people about doing so.

We agree that the manner in which the intended message was delivered was not the most appropriate one and the pictures should not have been taken, but we had tried time and again to warn the people about the dangers involved and no one listened, until now! This was probably the only way that we could think about to get people’s attention and wanted to make the proper authorities see the picture and do something that was safe for all. Our intention was to expose these dangers so that the town could build a safe facility for tourists to view the animals in their environment without any interference.

For the past three years, ever since the crocodile killed a dog at the WASA Pond, we have been preaching that something must be done to protect people from a possible vicious attack by one of these beasts. Then a group of young men started feeding the animals just to catch a view and have fun. Later on they started feeding them as a tourist attraction to collect some tips. And all this time nothing has been done. Now the focus has shifted from protecting people to protecting the animals because they are a protected species. But still nothing has been done until recently the town council hinted that it is planning to convert the place into an adequate and safe park as a tourist attraction. But everyday the feeding activity continues and nothing concrete happens.

To get attention for positive action on that matter, the author of Where’s Debbie Today got permission from the Deputy Mayor to report on what’s happening there to create public awareness. Debbie risked her personal safety to do this investigative report and does not deserve to be called: Dumb, Idiot, Fool, Local Sanpedrana, and Single mother. (By the way when is being a single mother and being a local something degrading?) Unfortunately a few people have misinterpreted the issue and resorted to insulting and abusive even threatening remarks at Debbie and our newspaper. We regret to see that a small group of people misunderstood our article, but nevertheless we are happy that it is MISSION ACCOMPLISHED on the matter for now much attention is being given to it and we will finally have a plan of action for the spot.

We talked to the Town Council to either stop it or create a safer environment to feed these animals, because we could see so many tourists going there and endangering themselves. We admit that we did not make this point strong enough, but surely we have in the past, with no avail. Because weather or not we agree to it, the feedings are still going on. I have never gone to feed these animals and we probably should not have taken those pictures (I agree to that), but it seems that it was the only way that I could draw attention to the matter. I agree that feeding these animals is dangerous and should not be done. BUT IT IS BEING DONE! And I wanted to do just that, have the proper authorities create a safer environment.

I was surprised to see the negativity coming from some people to the extent of some people insulting our reporter and condemning our newspaper. We were trying to do something positive for the town and we hope that with this we have taken the first step in making it better.

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