In a matter of hours, Soca On The Beach comes off at the Drill Hall beach.
However, one group is not going to be dancing or singing along to the sweet tunes of the season. The Barbados Sea Turtle Project is chiding the organisers for blatantly endangering “the most important nesting beach in Barbados”.
In a 24-minute live video on their Facebook page, Carla McNeil explained that the event poses a serious threat to the sea turtles laying eggs, and their actions could endanger turtle nests.
“Approximately a quarter of all the nesting on the island is done on this beach . . . if there is any beach in Barbados that needs to be protected it is this one,” she said.
McNeil said the National Conversation Commission (NCC) notified the turtle advocacy group that there was going to be an event at the beach and they got the opportunity to ask questions about the event to ensure the protection of the turtles.
She said they were assured that the turtles would not be affected.
“The stage was supposed to be on the parking area. We were told it was going to be small and elevated and that there was going to be absolutely not driving on the beach and no fence because it is an event that is free to the public.”
However, in doing their regular turtle patrols last night, McNeil said that she was shocked to discover that the total opposite had been done.
She showed that flat stages had been laid; stakes in the ground and the lightning which will be used could spell trouble for any hatchlings or nesting turtles.
“It is not quite time for hackings yet because the incubation is two months but we have had nesting all year and it is quite possible that they have nested and some [turtles] may become trapped under this flat stage,” McNeil said.
She further explained that the lightning which will be used could draw any hatchling that emerges during the night from anywhere else on the beach straight down into the area where people are going to be partying and there may be some fatal interaction.
McNeil lamented that the beach is the most important nesting beach on the island and according to their data accounts for the largest nesting population of Hawksbill turtles in the region.
In expressing her frustration she said the event could have been held at another location.