Sandbar story was mishandled

First, let me state that I am grateful that the newspaper has reported the incident because the public has a right to know.

However, I am unhappy with the way the article was worded for several reasons:

1) The headline could be seen as misleading because it fails to mention if the Sandbar was temporarily or permanently closed by the authorities.

2) The article refers to several conditions such as rough weather, the presence of jellyfish and a tourist being stung by a stingray but fails to mention a concrete reason as to what led to the closure.

I am disappointed by the lack of clarity in this article and room for misinterpretation. As you are aware the unfortunate demise of Mr. Steve Irwin last year was one of the most widely covered stories by the media in 2006. Several Caymanian water sports operators that I have spoken to have seen an adverse effect on their businesses since the often sensationalistic coverage of Mr. Irwin’s tragic accident.

While I am strongly in favour of increased monitoring and controls in our marine parks and popular marine destinations by local authorities I do not support media reports which could damage our reputation and/or the livelihoods of our hardworking water sports operators.

Stingray City and the Sandbar are two unique gems that belong to the people of the Cayman Islands; something that I am particularly proud of.

Of course, all visitors to these sites should be aware that they are interacting with wild animals in their environment and should act accordingly. Our water sports operators and marine patrol authorities should also endeavour to control/protect people and the marine life at these sites.

Similarly, our media should responsibly report issues surrounding our water sports and tourism industries with heightened sensitivity due to the significance of these sectors to our economy.

In summary, I do not think that these incidents should be hidden from the public but our media should word their reports in a clear and responsible manner.

Thank you for your time.

Jeff Goddard

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