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Letter: Two lessons for government to learn

Published on Wednesday, April 14, 2010 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

The Turtle Farm (now Boatswain’s Beach) was under the Ministry of Mr John McLean and he was the Chairman of the Board from the year 1992 to 2000, during which it was profitable.

During this period, the Turtle Farm made a profit in most years of about $50,000 to $150,000. The turtle herd was about 20,000 on average and reproductive and necessary scientific research was carried out and turtle meat was sufficient and cost a fraction of the $15 per pound at present.

The sad situation now and during the last PPM government’s reign is a large loss which recently is said to be about $9 million per annum and the turtles reduced to about 6,000, partly because of the turtles’ failure to reproduce sufficiently. The recent triple price increase to $15 per pound has priced turtle meat beyond the average local person’s means and lost the farm a lot of local goodwill. The savings on this price increase is estimated at $170,000 per annum which, if achieved, is only a drop in the bucket to the $9,000,000 annual loss.

The turtle stew sales will substantially fall, and the savings will not be met. The same mistake was made by too high an entrance fee. Two lessons for government to learn: government should not go into a business that the private sector can do, as government usually makes a loss; and you can increase entrance and meat prices but you cannot make people accept them.

The name Turtle Farm was a tourist attraction, with 40 years of goodwill. Why was it changed to Boatswain’s Beach? Most tourists and locals will visit a turtle farm (which is unique in the world) for a small fee but few want to swim in artificial water tanks for a high fee when they can swim at the Seven Mile Beach free.

We recommend that the government considers selling or leasing the non turtle facilities or phasing it down to reduce the losses and return to a “turtle farm” and hopefully a profit again. We suggest that the turtles’ feed be evaluated by the producers, which may assist with the reproduction problem. On the funny side, from these savings they should return to $5 per pound for turtle meat and put reproduction tablets in the turtles’ feed to help make them more reproductive.

Caymanians and the turtles will then be happy again.

John McLean
Truman Bodden
Reads : 921


Casandra Miller:
Both Mr Bodden and Mr McLean are absolutely right. I am stunned to the core, what in the dickens does the name Boaswain's Beach have to do with The Turtle Farm? A beach is a beach and a turtle farm is a turtle farm, so why and who came up with such an unsuitable new name for the Cayman's first and only Turtle Farm; which we all are very proud of? I smell a rat; someone who intended to make the Turtle Farm fail, so that they could sell off this government asset; why else would anyone change the name of a farm to the name of a beach? Come on, we weren’t all born behind a cow’s behind! We can see through all of this. It means that while the Turtle Farm was up and running very successfully, someone had their eyes on it to destroy it for their own financial and selfish greedy gain. Tell me who?


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