Sharon Chinquee, Public Relations Officer of the Discovery Bay Community Development Committee and Paul Roberts, a visitor from the UK
Despite a defamation suit filed against its president and another member by the operators of Puerto Seco beach park in St. Ann, members of the Discovery Bay Community Development Committee on Thursday staged a protest at the beach against the presence of the dolphin attraction adjacent to the facility.
The committee, led by president Lee Arbouin, had objected to the construction of the dolphin attraction, claiming that Discovery Bay is a fish sanctuary and excrement from dolphins will not be quickly washed out into the open sea, posing a health threat to swimmers and the marine environment.
Erica Downer Hamilton has also been named as a defendant in the suit which was filed in November.
Guardsman Hospitality, which operates the Puerto Seco beach park, retained the services of a team of attorneys led by Queens Counsel Michael Hylton, to sue Ms Arbouin and Mrs Downer Hamilton citing loss of revenue and damage to its reputation due to the spread of libelous information.
On Thursday, the handful of committee members and other supporters stood in the water with placards calling for the removal of the dolphin cove.
Sharon Chinquee, Public Relations Officer of the committee, said the defamation suit will not stop their advocacy.
"We know that we have a right to protest and we're gonna continue protesting as long as these dolphins are here because the bay has changed rapidly," she said.
"Before the dolphins came, we had sting rays in the bay, we had no sharks in the bay, we had no dolphins visiting the bay. Now that the dolphins are here, we have wild dolphins coming in, we have sharks coming in, the sting rays have left for some reason or other...the bay is now smelly and raw, the water is cloudy in the mornings," she pointed out.
Paul Roberts, a visitor from the UK, joined in Thursday's protest at Puerto Seco beach.
Mr. Roberts said he visits the area every year and he has already noticed changes to the beach conditions since the dolphins have been brought in.
The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is again being asked to investigate the claims.
No date has been set for the defamation suit to be heard.
According to the court documents, Guardsman is seeking among other things, aggravated damages, special damages in the sum of US$1.9 million and an injunction restraining the committee and its agents from publishing or causing to be published further defamatory words.