One-month ‘Ibis’ sentence a joke
Only one month for possession of 18 Scarlet Ibis carcasses? Magistrate Bramanand Dubay sentenced Kenny Rattan to all of one month for the possession of 18 carcasses of our renowned and protected national bird, the Scarlet Ibis. Is this a deterrent to the other renegade hunters who flout the law? Is there a yardstick to guide sentencing? Can the DPP appeal the injustice of this meagre sentence?
Will he? If not why not?
Can game wardens be motivated in the face of this petty sentencing?
After tens of thousands of hours of game warden service, after the reported slaughter of thousands of the national birds annually, after the spending of hundreds of millions to patrol and administer the protection of this and other disappearing wildlife species, after all of the dangers faced by game wardens, and after all of the thousands of complicated requirements for a court conviction, the perpetrators get one month?
Sometimes court decisions are a mockery of the people’s interest and of good public administration. Every magistrate should be mindful of the critical role they play in ensuring respect for the law.
With such an abundance of recreational and revenue-generating activities that arise from the survival of this and other species, it is critical that we protect our wildlife for sustainable tourism businesses, for national pride and for posterity. Hunting the Ibis is a criminal activity that threatens the public interest.
We support the Government’s ban on hunting and call for more staff and enforcement officers to ensure that our wildlife species are protected and sustainably managed. At the same time, we need more meaningful and supportive regulations to control the conduct of the few indiscriminate and lawless hunters who continue to openly flout the law and capture any, and as many as possible, of all species. We need the support of our courts when finally these lawbreakers are caught red-handed. An example must be set.
We need to send a message to the lawless and it should be loud and clear!
Terrence Beddoe, Gary Aboud
Fishermen and Friends
of the Sea