Vicious Vandalism At Jaguar Paw On Chukka’s Repelling Platform
For weeks in the media you've been hearing the uproar about the rappelling platform that Chukka Tours installed at Jaguar Paw.
Well sometime between Saturday and Sunday someone vandalized the rappelling platform - and form the looks of it wanted to destroy or disable the structure.
According to a release from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the platform was damaged and there was also evidence of fire damage to portions of the entrance stairway to the Crystal Cave.
We spoke with Chukka's country manager Valerie Woods about the extent of the damage:
Valerie Woods - Country Manager, Chukka Tours (Via Telephone)
"The rappelling platform is still intact. There was clearly an attack, and an immature one at that, it appears, to take it down, or to make it unsafe. We have inspectors coming in tomorrow to do - as per our standard operating procedure - a check on the areas that they did try to do damage to. The platform structure itself is intact. There were attempts to try and make a serious safety issue to try to hack saw through some of the metal piping, but as we have continually stated, we build our structures to international standards, and we renege, obviously, from that because of these attempts. The structure itelf remains intact, but we have to go through an inspection of those areas. There was an attempt, and there will be certain sections that may have to be replaced. I can't say that we were necessarily surprised. It is a very unfortunate incident, the lengths that a few people will go to. This has obviously been incited, and so we're not surprised, but it's unfortunate that it has occurred becaus it is the visited who have been affected, and the industry."
"Do you blame FECTAB for this?"
"I cannot blame anyone because obviously an investigation will have to be done, and the relevant authorities are looking into that, but there has been proclamations that the platform must be removed, and other things of that nature. So, I am not surprised that this would have resulted in some people taking matters into their own hands."
"FECTAB has issued a release saying that it absolutely condemns any illegal activity in any form or way and sticks to its policy of legal objections and conduct. Are you swayed by this?"
"It's good to know that they quickly stated that, as I'm sure that they would have needed to do so, but Chukka is in the business of trying to conduct tours in a safe and responsible. We will not listen the rhethoric of FECTAB."
There is no cost estimate for the damages at this time. Woods says once the platform is repaired and certified it will be re-opened at the same location.
Referring again to that FECTAB statement, it says, quote: "FECTAB absolutely condemns ANY illegal activity in any form or way, and sticks to its policy of LEGAL objections and conduct..."
It continues, quote: "We at the same time, ask the authorities at every level to ensure a thorough look at this event"
It concludes by saying, quote: "FECTAB hopes this matter can be resolved properly, and that in future we need to stick to the very rules and regulations we have so painstakingly put together to protect, preserve and improve our tourism product."
A release form the Ministry of Tourism and Culture says, quote:
"The Ministry of Tourism & Culture and N.I.C.H. view this attack as criminal and maintain its Zero Tolerance Policy against such acts at any of the sites it manages. The Ministry of Tourism & Culture and N.I.C.H. informs the public that, with the support of the Ministry of National Security and the Police Department, a full and thorough investigation will immediately commence. Those who may be found responsible for this act of sabotage will be dealt with within the strictest level of the law." End quote.
Jaguar Paw, properly known as the The Nohoch Che'en Archaeological Reserve receives the most visitors of any tourist site in the country.