It seems that enough people
complained to members of the Opposition about the recent tripling of the price
of turtle meat that the Leader of the Opposition Kurt Tibbetts felt compelled
to bring a Private Member’s Motion in Legislative Assembly asking that
consideration be given to returning the price to what it was before.
Although we can understand why
turtle stew lovers would be upset by the suddenness of the price increase,
we’re not sure people understand the seriousness of the situation, both from a financial
perspective and from the herd preservation perspective.
From the financial side, we are
puzzled by Mr. Tibbetts’ suggestion that some of the annual government subsidy
to Boatswain’s Beach/Cayman Turtle Farm be used to cover the cost of selling
turtle meat for less than what it costs to produce. Subsidies shouldn’t be seen as allotments
that can be parcelled out to specific elements of an operation. Instead, they
are amounts to cover the overall loss of an entity, which ideally wouldn’t be
losing money in the first place.
In a time of a budget crisis, we
simply cannot understand someone suggesting the Turtle Farm purposely lose more
money than it has to.
In addition, the government and its
entities should not be subsidising the cost of non-essential products for specific
elements of society, namely turtle eaters and a couple of dozen restaurant owners.
Beyond the financial aspects, there
were other reasons why demand for turtle needed to be reduced.
The Turtle Farm’s herd was dwindling
to the point that if something wasn’t done, there would have been no
harvestable turtle left by the middle of next year. Such a herd depletion could
jeopardise the entire existence of the Turtle Farm and the possibility of
having turtle meat available for future generations.
It’s not like people can’t get
turtle meat anymore; they just have to pay more for it. Maybe people who say
they can’t afford the new prices can eat small-sized turtle lunches instead of
the large size. Or maybe they’ll just have to eat it less often. But to complain about the new price is not
only short-sighted, it’s also really quite selfish.