Senior fisheries officer in Barbuda may give up post

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Doug Beazer, senior fisheries officer in Barbuda, says that he may be giving up his post due to the stress and tension surrounding the fisheries debacle on the sister island.
“It is next to impossible that I will return as senior fisheries officer because I refuse to work with individuals who seek to undermine me daily and stain my good name. With all that’s going on I went down to the office some time last week and asked them to give me three months time off because this whole thing is proving to be psychological, it’s having some kind of effect on me. I need a cool down period,” Beazer said.
He added that his request was granted and he has been on leave since last week. He said that prior to the passage of Hurricane Irma in September last year, the fisheries complex was in tip-top condition, but since the army and police moved in after the storm, things deteriorated rapidly.
Beazer recalled having a conversation with a high-ranking military officer, whose name he could not remember, and inquiring into the unsanitary state in which the building was being kept while occupied by military personnel. According to Beazer, the officer made it clear that he did not need to provide an explanation since military staff did not answer to him.
The senior fisheries officer recalled that during this conversation, another member of the defense force came outside holding a plate with food scraps and was disposing of them right outside of the door. Beazer said that the complex was surrounded by dog faeces, dead animals, derelict vehicles and flies.
He stated that two 20-ton trucks were packed with discarded items which were removed from inside the fisheries after the police moved out.
In addition, Beazer stated that except for one member of his team, everyone had received training from the fisheries division and is more than capable of doing their jobs.
Nonetheless, he laid some of the blame on some team members who seem to lack the passion to carry out their duties.
He reported that the lack of interest comes from them not really having interest in that line of work, but being political appointees just working for a paycheque.
Beazer attributed the bad press he has gotten to a rift in his relationship with chief fisheries officer, Cheryl Appleton. According to him, a disagreement between himself and Appleton over his decision to partner with the Waitt Foundation’s Blue Halo conservation project drew the ire of the top fisheries official.
He said that fishermen from other islands would come and drop nets around reefs in an effort to catch parrot fish, but the practice quickly resulted in the death of those very reefs. He also added that neither the fisheries division nor the council had the resources to tackle the issue effectively, but the Waitt Foundation did, and therefore the choice was simple.
This is just another installment in the saga concerning the fisheries complex in Barbuda. It was a little over a week ago that armed police officers and the chief fisheries officer, Appleton, clashed with members of the Barbuda Council and residents when both parties claimed to be the rightful authority in charge of the building.
That encounter was reported to have been amicably resolved with a meeting involving Appleton and her deputy, and Trevor Walker, elected representative for Barbuda, and members of the Barbuda Council.
Walker emerged from the meeting with both the chief fisheries officer and her deputy standing right beside him. He then proceeded to address the crowd with the news that both parties had agreed that the keys to the building would stay with the local government.
However, upon returning to Antigua, the acting deputy chief fisheries officer, appeared at a press conference with the minister of Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs, Dean Jonas.
At that press conference, Jonas said that Walker lied about what happened in the meeting.
Jonas also accused Walker and others of intimidating the officers who went over to do their job, and he insisted that that sort of intimidation will simply not be tolerated.

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