Tobago a land where time stands still

FUN IN THE SUN: People enjoying themselves at Pigeon Point beach, Tobago. - File photo
FUN IN THE SUN: People enjoying themselves at Pigeon Point beach, Tobago. - File photo



IF YOU WANT to go to a land untouched by time, then Tobago is your destination. It is an island mere minutes from Trinidad where the islanders (called Bagos by the more sophisticated and socially advanced Trinis) still race goats and crabs.

Goats are extremely intelligent animals.

“Goats might not seem like the most cuddly animals, but researchers have found evidence that goats are as clever as dogs and capable of building emotional relationships with humans as all the other domesticated animals we’ve let into our hearts and homes.” (

While goats are comparable to dogs, crabs, on the other hand, are not.

“You can love crabs, but they may not love you back. They’re not exactly the kind of pet you can cuddle,” says Ann Cohen, a specialist in the Smithsonian’s Department of Invertebrate Zoology who happens to own four pet hermit crabs.

“They don’t like to be handled and can bite through a fingernail if you rile them.” (

So why didn’t Bagos abandon these archaic forms of entertainment when Trinis on their sister isle have progressed to more sophisticated pursuits? Or is it that only the poor who think that using animals that are often thought of as food are still trained for entertainment and then eaten?

While the local tourism industry may get a mini spike from the Buccoo Goat and Crab Race Festival, isn’t it sending the wrong message to foreigners from Europe and the US that Tobago is still a primitive culture that will instil fear into the hearts of folks unaccustomed to something that could be viewed as barbaric?

Crab and goat racing is unique, for sure, but will tourists not be better served with pristine beaches with daily entertainment on the sand with steelband, Carnival costumes, calypso and local cuisine as the focal point instead?

I know which one I will go to Tobago for, and it is not to see crabs being poked as they try to escape, nor it is to see bewildered goats running as though their lives depended on it, as they certainly do.

According to the US News and World Report, the 14 best Caribbean beaches for 2024, beginning with No 1, are in the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, US Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Aruba, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Antigua, Jamaica, Grenada, Dominican Republic, and St Kitts and Nevis. Moreover, the best beach in the world is Fiji.

I call on the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) to pass laws that prevent animals from being badly treated for the entertainment of the few when the many are left to their own devices on beaches that are so far from being among the best in the world that it seems that no one in the Tobago Tourism Agency (TTA) is aware of what to do to fix it.

I urge the THA and the TTA to skip trying to be the best beach in the Caribbean and look to beat Fiji so we can boast that we have the best beach in the world.

We have a long road to travel to get there. However, when the petroleum industry dies, as it will, tourism will be our salvation.


"Tobago a land where time stands still"

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