After nine months of inactivity, hunters will likely be able to resume hunting by next weekend, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced during the COVID-19 press conference in Tobago on Saturday.
In the past two weeks, groups of hunters have protested against the Government’s previous decision to suspend the hunting season, which typically runs from October to February, however, they finally have their wish. And, according to the President of the Confederation of Hunters Lionel Emmanuel, members are overjoyed.
“This thing is long overdue because it really had nothing to do with COVID which supposedly stopped hunters from hunting because the sport of hunting is not a congregating sport,” Emmanuel said.
Saying there are three main types of hunting in T&T, he added that “running dog hunting” has been particularly affected. He said this was the case because the dogs have been inactive for nine months, and they lose muscle mass, also affecting their overall health. But now, he said, they can get back to doing what they do best.
However, while hunters are eager to resume the sport, Emmanuel said they still have to wait on the Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Clarence Rambharat to adjust the Conservation of Wild Life Act.
Because of the legal loophole which allowed hunters to hunt on private land despite the season remaining closed, the Government removed game from the second schedule listing animals that can be hunted.
“When the hunting season is open, people would be able to hunt on private land, but the animals must be placed on the second schedule of the act. If the animals are not on the schedule, you can’t hunt them yet,” he claimed.
However, he expressed confidence that the minister would do so soon, given the Prime Minister’s assertion that hunting would be allowed to resume until the end of the season in February.
“Hopefully, by Monday, this will go to the printery to get the animals back on the schedule and put out the legal notice that he has reinstated the animal on the schedule that was deleted,” Emmanuel said.
Among the animals typically listed on the schedule are cayman, lizards, agouti, armadillo, deer, quenk and lappe.
Meanwhile, just recently, there was a small demonstration against Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh in New York concerning the current COVID regulation on the hunting season.
A video of the demonstration was circulating on social media. Three people dressed as Transformer action figure toy characters and another in a Minnie Mouse costume held a banner in what appeared to be New York’s downtown Times Square.
The banner bearing a huge picture of a pointing Deyalsingh stated “Trinidad and Tobago: Terrence Deyalsingh is abusing his power against hunters. The world is watching.”
In the background were stores like T Mobile, Sephora and others and people were moving around and gathered around lit screens watching other activities.
Deyalsingh, in Tobago for the Prime Minister’s press conference, said he was unaware of the overseas demonstration, but added that “health ministers all over the world are targets, they’re targets for the peoples’ frustrations, so I have nothing against anyone. I understand how they feel. Let the people express themselves, I have no problem whatsoever with it, I understand fully.”