GSD Continue Concerned over Macaques
The Opposition spokesman for the Environment, Selwyn Figueras, has responded to assertions by the Government that the problems the community is today facing in relation to the apes stems from 15 years of mismanagement by the GSD by explaining that there is absolutely no issue of the GSD Government failing to heed advice given to them.
During the time the GSD were in Government, GONHS were under contract to supervise, feed and manage all aspects of ape welfare including responsibility for reducing the size of the ape population. Therefore, all criticism directed by Dr Cortes at the GSD Government rebounds and lands entirely on his own plate and that of GONHS, which he led as its General Secretary.
At the last meeting of Parliament, Dr Cortes explained that there had been no progress with the exportation of apes and explained that he was certain only that there would be exportation of apes within this term. In light of the fact that there now appears to have been so much progress in the last couple of weeks, perhaps the Minister will now publish details of the entities with which he is negotiation and what the issues outstanding between the Government and the destination countries are?
Mr Figueras added: Perhaps Dr Cortes will also explain why he, as General Secretary of GOHNS, he never completed ongoing negotiations he told the GSD Government he was holding with his contacts with Tunisia to export our apes to that country? Perhaps he will also explain why the negotiations being conducted by the GSD Government (not by GONHS) to export about 50 apes to an animal Park in UK, which were at a very advanced stage at the time of the last election, have not yet been finalised? Perhaps the Minister will further admit that at the time of the last election the GSD Government (not GONHS) were in contact (through a third party) with another African country to arrange the export of apes to that country for release of those apes into the wild in the Atlas Mountains? Is it that the Minister is now gradually reviving these same GSD ape export plans of which he had full knowledge as GONHS Secretary General, the GSD Governments contractor on Ape Management, and is now pretending that they are new GSLP initiatives?
The GSD expects that, as with many assurances and promises made by the Minister both for many years before and since his election, there will be little of substance to allay the communitys fears. The time for words and gesturing is now over.
The Minister also continues to insist that ape bite incidents are down; as if that somehow makes the reality of the ape bites and the presence of errant monkeys in the urban environment, not to mention the terror they inflict on children and adults alike in areas such as Gardiners Road and Laguna Estate, somehow better. Perhaps if he walked to work a few more times through Southport Gates he might better appreciate the issue. The Ministers words do little to reassure residents living in fear, residents who are routinely told that the apes were here first, that somehow fault lies with the residents themselves for living where they do.
Dr Cortes suggests that the Opposition spokesman should read a book he co-edited about Barbary management to learn something. Responding to this, Selwyn Figueras said: As the one constant during the last twenty years, during which time the management of the apes has been an issue, Dr Cortes has clearly been more interested in observing, reading, writing and talking about the apes than with actually dealing with the issue, either because he sincerely believes that apes are more important than humans in the grand environmental scheme of things, or as a matter of course in the pursuit of his own political agenda.
On a final note about my requests for information about meetings, it is the GSLP who took office last year on the basis of, amongst other things, their transparency agenda… This is obviously proving rather inconvenient for Dr Cortes who now complains that I want to know about everything he gets up to and is trying to justify his refusal to comply with those requests by applying the same interpretation of transparency he criticised the previous administration for.
I plan to continue to probe, scrutinise and monitor Mr Cortes political actions, actions which a mere twelve months into his tenure have already given rise to serious and widespread concerns in the community. No amount of vitriol is going to get me off his back, much like the monkeys I suspect…
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