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OECS key in whaling ban issue

rhondathompson, [email protected]

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PORT-OF-SPAIN – Six Eastern Caribbean countries may well hold the key as to whether or not the International Whaling Commission (IWC) will overturn the 1986 global ban on commercial whaling and allow hunting in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary around Antarctica. The proposal will be put forward during the June 21 to 25 IWC meeting in Morocco and regional environmentalists and others opposed to the lifting of the ban are calling on Caribbean governments not to give in to countries like Japan that have used their financial muscle in the past to get regional countries to side with them. Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada – all members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) – belong to the IWC, which was set up in 1964 to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and the orderly development of the whaling industry. Grenada’s Prime Minister Tillman Thomas said it is important for the sub-region to adopt a united approach in dealing with the issue. “It goes both ways. Most of us are tourism destinations and we benefit equally from tourism, so it’s a matter of getting together and looking at the issue. We want to talk about sustainable whaling and different approaches towards that,” he said. But former Commonwealth Secretary General, Sir Shridath Ramphal, has described as a travesty, the decision by the OECS to lend support to Japan. “It’s a great sadness to me that some of our smaller countries … a significant number to make a difference in the world’s Whaling Commission, are in fact joining with them (Japan) in perpetuating the slaughter, and in the end the extinction of these mammals.” (CMC)