The Gaston Browne Cabinet has confirmed that it has not agreed to lift the ban on the hunting of whales and is not aware of any statement which suggests otherwise.
Media reports indicated that Antigua and Barbuda formed part of a debate on the ongoing International Whaling Commission which stated that pro-whaling countries, including the twin island state, could reverse progress made by the IWC
The report stated that Antigua and Barbuda had submitted a resolution seeking to reopen the debate on commercial whaling.
But Chief of Staff in the office of Prime Minister Lionel Max Hurst said at the weekly Cabinet press conference that 48 countries had proposed the resolution, which he noted is always on the IWC’s agenda.
The majority will always vote down and it is expected that this resolution will be voted down. Antigua and Barbuda has always taken a very keen interest in this subject matter, Our friends in Japan have taken a keen interest in this matter. But it is the way it has worked out in times past and even in this present moment that the resolution will be voted down and therefore no harm comes to the whales,” Hurst said.
Furthermore, he said the people in Caribbean countries and territories do not eat whale meat but they have an interest in making sure there is food security.
“Antigua and Barbuda usually stands on the right side of history when it comes to environmental matters as he highlighted the country’s stance on wealthy nations claiming territory in Antarctica. If you are going to judge us merely on the issue of whales, I dare say that you’d get a very skewed view of how Antigua and Barbuda approaches the subject matter,” he added.
He described the comments and protests by international environmental bodies on the matter as “noise”.
At its last meeting in Brazil, the 88-member IWC rejected a proposal by Japan to lift the ban on commercial whaling.