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Trinidad & Tobago: Bake & Shark

“I am always very curious to see what people say about Trinidad and Tobago. Not because I want to see their view so much as I am interested to see how accurate they are.” Adele at Thebookmann reports on a television series featuring some of T&T's “bizarre foods”.

12 comments

  • Richardo Verde

    Bake and Shark with Stray Dogs a la carte
    It was a sunny day and the road to Maracas Bay was smooth and void of any potholes with the grass on the sides recently cut, no cars except for the lone Maxi Taxi rushing the hills and curves. It was just a few days after the general elections. At the look-out you could have seen as far as Tobago in the distance. It was one of those beautiful days Trinidad is remembered for.
    Then, we arrived at Maracas Bay; life guards in their yellow vest congregated under the life guard stand, red flags lined the beach and the waves washing the shore, just a few determined bathers disregarding the meaning of the red flags and challenging the waves and currents that Maracas Bay is famous for.
    Pay and Park was an ease, a few TT Dollars. There were a few cars parked in the parking lot with some with their car trunks open and families sharing what appeared to be well prepared cuisine.
    Next to the parking lot were the Bake and Shark Huts and we could see RICHARD’s bake and shark hut painted blue and yellow just as it was shown on TV at our transplanted home far away; that’s what we were in search off. As it is well known, RICHARD’S bake and shark has received world recognition due to the many ‘food’ shows on the foreign television stations; recommending the sandwich as the best in the world.
    Weaving our way around the short colorful picket fences and open garbage bins we purchased our share of the bake and shark and proceeded to dip into the condiments spread-out on the table. Almost as on command stray dogs attached us. Not just stray dogs, but emaciated stray dogs with mange accompanied by flies. We moved to another table and two more approached us. The other customers had the same problem; they followed all of us around. We eventually decided to abandon the idea of eating under the umbrellas and move to the beach.
    What was disturbing was that emaciated mange stray dogs appeared to be accepted as part of the population of the immediate eating area. There was no one attempting to drive them away, no one from RICHARD’s, the other vendors, the parking attendants our even other customers. It’s almost like if they are fixtures and you have to buy bake and shark with stray dogs a la carte.
    Now, is it healthy to have the dogs around? Is it healthy that the dogs with flies attack you and your world famous RICHARDS’s bake and shark? Is it right that you fly all the way from another country, brave the winding road and have to share your space with the emaciated dogs and flies? Where are TIDCO and their representatives or even dog catchers?
    It is one thing to be corralled and robbed at a beach by some calculating rough necks while the police and beach security are distracted. It is another to be attacked by stray dogs which can be controlled by thinking law abiding caring administrators.
    Ricardo Visitor

  • trinigirl

    TIDCO actually was disbanded a few years ago, and the Industrial part of it removed so that they can focus solely on Tourism. Believe it’s now called the Tourism Development Company (TDC).

    So you can probably try there first to air your grievances re: the stray dogs.

  • Catherine

    I was just surfing the web and found the comments by Richardo. I am an expat currently living in Trinidad and go go Maracas Beach every weekend and eat at Richards regularly. Yes, there are stray dogs at the beach, but there are not hordes of them and I have never been “attacked” by one. They simply follow people around because they are starving (as per his noting the “emaciated” dogs).

    If more people would get involved with the TTSPCA (Trinidad and Tobago Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), and support them – maybe this problem could be fixed. I volunteer there and they help as many dogs as they can. However, until people decide to take the problem seriously, and help in a “good” way this will not go away. The local people need to ask the Government loudly to help with a spay and neuter program for the strays, and get their OWN dogs spayed and neutered.

    I feel as if I’ve just been on a soapbox preaching, but it is a huge problem and people need to find a humane way to deal with it. If visitors are appalled, then, yes – they need to let the Tourism group know how they felt. Hopefully, it will spur them on to assist with the very sad problem plaguing the country.

  • Richardo Verde

    It is cold out and I mentioned to my staff that if I was in Trinidad I would be by the beach soaking-up the hot sun and of course with a bake and shark and an Apple-J, Maracas in particular.

    It is always reassuring when others have similar concerns and I have taken the liberty to forward the comments to TDC formaly TIDCO at e-mail: info@tdc.co.tt and TTSPCA at e-mail: support@TTSPCA.co

    Hoping that the dogs are relocated to their space and looked after.

  • mary soodeen

    I have forwarded the email which was received at our Tobago Branch website. Please encourage visitors and residents alike to write to the Tourism Board, to the Newspapers, send in Photos, its only by making the “Powers that be” ashamed at what is being offered on our Beaches, together with Richard’s famous Bake and Shark, that they will do something constructive about the situation of Stray dogs.
    Its is not the DOGS problem, they are just hungry.
    Mary
    TTSPCA Tobago Branch

  • Theresa Awai

    Dear Ricardo:

    I am the manager of the T & T SPCA. It is indeed as you said, bake and shark a la carte and it is not a desirable situation, but it is something that the Tourism Development Corporation(TDC) and ourselves are trying to correct. We have begun working only recently (October 07) with TDC to remove strays from Maracas, Las Cuevas and Manzanilla on a once monthly basis at each of these beaches. We average about 6 strays per visit. This is not a large figure and would not really address the situation. However, it is a start and what is needed to curb this trend, not only on the beaches but everywhere that strays proliferate, is a sustained program where (a)sick animals are removed and humanely euthanized; and (b)a spay/neuter and release program. The latter is the preferred method for a long term solution. This would call for a greater involvement by the relevant authorities – the TDC, the local regional corporations and the Ministry of Agriculture under whose portfolio, animal welfare falls. The TTSPCA has submitted various proposals to the government asking for a subvention to help us to run this and various programmes but we have not had any responses. As you would realize SPCA’s all over the world suffer from lack of funds and other resources. There are few committed volunteers. There is just so much we can do alone. Many times we are villifed in the press because of our seemingly lack of proactivity. Many citizens do not realize that the Regional Corporations for their area are the ones to pick up strays from the roads, not the TTSPCA, and to add to this, VERY FEW OF THE CORPORATIONS HAVE A CANINE UNIT. We try to pick up injured animals as much as we can, but with one vehicle it is impossible for us to be in Toco, San Fernando, Diego Martin and Arima in one day! To suggest to a caller that they can assist us by trying to bring the animal in to us will result in our being chastised (using euphemism here). As far as they are concerned they have done their civic duty. It is now up to us. So, do not think that we – together with the Animal Welfare Network (AWN) and other dedicted animals activists are not mindful of this situation. We are. But until those in authority who have the funds and the means to assist the TTSPCA and other interested groups in tackling this burgeoning situation, we will continue to see strays all over this beautiful country of ours. Just one final note for your information. Many of the “strays” are owned dogs. Many times the TTSPCA is hindered from removing a dog because the owner comes and takes his dog. Also, dogs that will normally be free to roam, will be tied up when we get there to pick up strays. The villagers let their animals roam to get free food and once our ambulance appears, the dogs have all (but the sickly) mysteriously vanished from the beach.

    Theresa Awai

  • Marvelous M

    I rarely visit. I confess that I am discouraged by the many reports and rumors of crime. So I feel I have no right to comment here on the blog. Instead, I e-mailed “To Whom it May Concern” directly at info@tdc.co.tt offering my concern that if someone with litigious savvy were bitten, or scratched by a sick dog (rabies-infected or otherwise) they will take the opportunity to take back some petro-dollars to their bank account.

    Someone who knows a reporter with the local tabloids should suggest an effective photo-story on the issue and see if that spurs some action.

  • Nadia

    I went to Maracas beach today and I was saddened to see these skinny, hungry, sick dogs begging for food. I bought a bake and shark sandwich and hand fed it to one of the dogs. These dogs are very friendly creatures, it is not their fault that they are stray, people need to take responsibily and help these poor animals have a better life instead of complaining that they are annoying them! they have needs like us, they need food, shelter, medical attention, beds, etc…they deserve to live too…let’s treat them humanely and help them live their lives! please donate dog food, supplies, money to the TTSPCA since they are underfunded and the poor animals are paying an expensive price with their lives.

  • Nadia

    Dear Ricardo,

    Im a visitor as well and I was saddened to see these starving, sick creatures everywhere in Trinidad. I bought a bake and shark sandwich and hand-fed one of these hungry dogs. they are very friendly.

    These dogs need some compassion and love. They were following you because they are hungry, sick, mistreated, skinny..they have a very harsh life, and we need to help them instead of chasing them away. It is not their fault that they are stray, they have no home, no owner, no food, no water, no shelter, no medical attention, etc…put yourself in their shoes for a moment and you will understand what they are going through… people need to help these creatures, and people’s best friends! send out e-mails to info@tdc.co.tt and support@ttspca.co and encourage them to help these creatures and provide for them. Donate food, money and other necessities and encourage your friends and anybody you know to do the same…..if everybody helps a little, these dogs will have a better life. Do a good deed because some day somebody might do a good deed for you when you most need it!

  • Thank you Nadia for your comments.
    Each word you say is true. These stray animals have
    no homes.
    Yes if everybody helped a little, donated
    food,money, time, more could be achieved.
    In Tobago we need Volunteers to walk
    the dogs. So this New Year 2009 make a pledge to help
    God’s creatures and Man’s best friend, who give us in
    return love and loyalty.

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