Tag Archives: Blacktip

Police Strike Leaves Blacktip Island Unprotected

Blacktip Island residents worry a wave of vandalism will sweep over the Caribbean island with Blacktip’s lone police officer on strike for better working conditions.

Blacktip Island residents worry a wave of vandalism will sweep over the Caribbean island with Blacktip’s lone police officer on strike for better working conditions.

Blacktip Island’s sole law enforcement officer went on strike Wednesday demanding an end to unfair working conditions on the small Caribbean island.

“I’m the only policeman on Blacktip,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “I work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I try to take a day off, people call 911. I have a rum and Coke, some joker reports me for drinking on duty.

“I’ve addressed the issue with community leaders and with police headquarters on Tiperon,” Marquette said. “Since nothing’s being done, I’ve no choice but to man the picket line.”

Tiperon Island Police say the problem lies with Blacktip Island’s small population.

“It’s a numbers thing,” T.I.P. spokesperson Dick Goby said. “We only have so many constables. To get a second one on Blacktip, the population needs to break 150. That’s not happening anytime soon. If ever.

“Bottom line, though, Rafe’s a public servant. It’s illegal for him to strike,” Goby said. “We’ve ordered him back to work. We’ve ordered him to arrest himself. He won’t do either. We’d love to send a second constable over, but our hands are tied.”

While many island property owners back the idea of a second constable, few are happy with Marquette’s tactics.

“We’re an isolated island. Vandalism, robbery, invasion, anything could happen,” longtime resident Frank Maples said. “Now, nothing’s happened yet, but who knows what could have if not for a strong police presence.

Other residents are less concerned.

“Rafe’s been on strike three days now, and I don’t think anyone’s noticed,” resident Polly Parrett said. “Blacktip’s a place you leave the keys in your car and your house unlocked. We usually don’t need even one constable.

“I mean, last week Dermott nicked my Jeep from the Last Ballyhoo after closing Saturday, but it wasn’t a worry,” Parrett said. “I just nicked it back the next morning. The biggest issue was dragging him out of the driver’s seat, what with him out cold.”

Local business owners disagreed.

“James Conlee wrote a bad check for his bar tab, and Rafe wouldn’t so much as lift a finger,” said Sand Spit Bar manager Cori Anders. “He’s not on strike. He’s not even in a union. He’s just pouting in that air-conditioned police station of his.

“Our bottom line, so long as Rafe says he’s on strike, so’s his free beer,’ Anders said. “And with it being just him, it’s really more a picket point than a picket line, isn’t it?”

Marquette remained resolved.

“This is exactly the indifference I’m challenging,” Marquette said. “I’ve drawn my point in the sand, and I won’t be moved.”

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean

Anger Management Retreat Angers Locals

Anger management sessions at Blacktip Haven and on Blacktip Island’s reefs have created friction on the Caribbean island.

Anger management sessions at Blacktip Haven and on Blacktip Island’s reefs have sparked friction on the Caribbean island.

Blacktip Haven resort’s annual anger management retreat has island residents up in arms following repeated run-ins between participants and scuba diving guests from Blacktip Island’s other resorts.

Local business owners have demanded the resort cease the week-long program.

“The Haven’s up on the Bluff, within easy earshot of half the island,” said Rich Skerritt, owner of Eagle Ray Cove resort. “There’s no way to get away from the noise. Sound carries in tropical air.

“The primal screaming at all hours of the night, it keeps guests and staff alike awake. I know these retreats are all the rage, but this one’s killing our business.”

Blacktip Haven owner Elena Havens was quick to defend the program.

“What we do at The Haven’s no one’s business. I’m filling my resort during the slow season, covering my expenses. If Rich’s place’s half-empty, that’s his problem.”

Other locals disagreed.

“All that hollering, we thought the mersquatch was back on the prowl,” resident Molly Miller said. “To find out it’s just tourists, honestly, that pisses me off.”

“We advertise our resort as a peaceful getaway,” Club Scuba Doo manager Polly Parrett said. “When Elena brings these people in, it destroys that. They set the birds off. Get the iguanas stampeding.”

Island police records show an uptick in violence during the weeks Blacktip Haven has conducted the retreats.

“You bring that many angry people together on one small island, it’s a recipe for disaster,” said Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette. “One person’s anger sets off another, and the next thing you know it’s snowballed into a bar fight or road rage.”

Attempts to conduct sessions underwater have resulted in confrontations as well.

“I’m swimming along with a stingray when this jackass starts whacking me with a stick,” said a Sandy Bottoms Beach Resort dive guest who asked to remain anonymous. “Then his buddies joined in. Only thing kept them from killing me was my pulling a knife on them.”

“There was an isolated incident where a diver stumbled into an underwater drum circle,” Elena Havens said. “It was unfortunate, but in no way indicative of these retreats.”

“These workshops do a lot of good,” said the former-Reverend Jerrod Ephesians, the workshop’s facilitator. “I’m a recovering anger-holic myself. It’s easy to think of Blacktip as a tropical paradise, but there’s a lot of pent-up anger here.

“The naysayers need to have some sense beat into them,” Ephesians said. “When you point a finger at someone, you have three more fingers pointing back at yourself.”

A town hall meeting to discuss the fate of future anger retreats was aborted when a fight broke out in Eagle Ray Cove’s conference room. The meeting had not been rescheduled at press time.

Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean, Scuba Diving

Pygmy Sharks Return to Blacktip Island

One of the pygmy sharks (Carcharhinus pygmius) swarming Blacktip Island’s beaches.

One of the pygmy sharks (Carcharhinus pygmius) swarming Blacktip Island’s beaches.

The first wave of pygmy sharks has returned to Blacktip Island, signaling the unofficial end of hurricane season and the beginning of Shark Days pranks.

“It may be an old wives tale, but it holds true,” Sandy Bottoms, owner of Sandy Bottoms Beach Resort said. “We’ve had nasty blows after the official December 1 end-of-hurricane-season date, but never after the sharks show up.

“They’re a month late, but we’re happy to see them. Everyone can let our hair down and have some fun now that storm season’s past.”

The diminutive sharks (Carcharhinus pygmius) migrate past the Tiperon Island chain on their way to winter breeding grounds off coast of Central America.

Scientists speculate the end of storm season coinciding with the pygmy sharks’ return is due to seasonal weather patterns bringing cooler water to Blacktip Island, and the sharks along with it.

The sharks’ arrival is greeted with parties along island beaches.

“We bring the kids and make a day of it,” resident Edwin Chub said. “It truly brings the community together. No better way to welcome the New Year than with these little fellows . . . and some good-natured jokes.”

The sharks, trickster figures in island lore, also bring a time of island-wide practical joking.

“It’s a way to blow off steam without any long-term repercussions,” Chub said. “An island this small, neighbors have to get along. You can’t go having a confrontation every time there’s a disagreement – you do that you lose a friend, and quite possibly the help you need in the next storm. These pranks let us vent our frustrations in healthy, productive ways so we can all live happily together.”

“A couple years back, someone filled Payne Hanover’s place with live land crabs,” resident Nelson Pilchard said. “Big ones. Took Payne forever to get them all out. They tore up two oven mitts and a baseball glove before he was through. And he was days cleaning up the crab poop.”

“Last year someone left a pair of lacey red panties in Mickey Smarr’s glove box, with a note saying, ‘thanks for the good time,’” Bottoms said. “When Mickey’s wife found them, she beat him near-senseless. Only thing saved him was it was Shark Days. They’re still married, and Mickey’s scars are healing nicely. No one knows who did it. Could have been anyone – Mickey has a way of pissing people off. ‘The sharks got him,’ as we say.”

Island authorities could not confirm whether last night’s fire at the Customs house was related to a Shark Days prank.

“We’re lucky Shark Days only last a few weeks,” Chub said, “otherwise the celebrations might get out of hand.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean, Scuba Diving, Writing