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Parks Manager: SVG is cashing in on Tobago Cays

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Lawlessness has been stamped out of the Tobago Cays. This, as the Tobago Cays Marine Park (TCMP) motors along smoothly.

This is according to manager of the TCMP, Vibert Dublin, who told SEARCHLIGHT earlier this week that the TCMP is realizing the potential of the Tobago Cays and has almost totally stamped out the negatives that have plagued the Cays for years.{{more}}

“The Tobago Cays was a hunting ground for lawlessness, but now this has been about 99 per cent stamped out,” Dublin told SEARCHLIGHT.

Dublin also lauded the profitability of the TCMP.

“When we started, sometimes the staff will go three to four months without money, but now we are generating our own income,” a satisfied Dublin said.

Between December 2007 and February this year, the TCMP has recorded income of $278,000, while 3,520 yachts visited the Cays in the said period.

Dublin told SEARCHLIGHT that he expects the Tobago Cays to continue to expand as yachters enjoy the better organized, safer surroundings.

“Before the TCMP was in full operations every couple weeks you heard reports of yachts being broken into, but that has gone down to almost none. I can’t tell the last time I heard such a report,” Dublin said.

Last Saturday, the TCMP had more reasons for celebration.

The OECS Secretariat launched a livelihoods project in Union Island. The project is geared towards creating employment opportunities for persons and communities of the Southern Grenadines and is especially targeted at low-income households in and around the Tobago Cays Marine Park (TCMP) area.

OECS officials are excited about the potential of the project, as they forecast an enhancing of livelihoods in the Southern Grenadines, and a continuous sustenance of the conservation and economic benefits of the natural resources in and around the Tobago Cays.

Staff of the Tobago Cays, together with other community stakeholders, developed the sustainable livelihoods project in late 2007, following a training workshop on proposal writing delivered by officers of the OECS Secretariat. They identified a series of potential livelihood opportunities that can be supported by the project.

These include Tour Guiding, Art and craft, Seamoss Farming, Boat Building/Maintenance, Customer Service, and Small Business Management. As part of the project, the OECS Secretariat will organize training sessions in these various areas in order to build the capacity of interested community persons and to ensure that they practice sustainable methods.In addition to training, other components of the TCMP livelihoods sub-project will comprise entrepreneurial support, public awareness and project management.

This community sustainable livelihoods initiative is the first in a series to be unveiled in each of Six OECS Member States over the next few years as part of OECS Protected Areas and Associated Livelihoods Project (OPAAL).

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