A Caribbean Angel Abandons Us - Mona George Dill

31st October 2016

It is with immense sadness that I inform you all that Mona passed away unexpectedly during the night of the 31st octber 2016 at her home in Dominica Many of you will have crossed Mona's path at the IWC or CITES, where she worked tirelessly for the preservation of whales and ocean life. I cannnot spontaneously say "rest in peace" to Mona, as from every point of view she was one of earth’s rare gifts, a beautiful human being, a constellation, a comet we are now deprived of. Her warm melodious voice soothed us, portrayed the depth of her personality and conjoured up all that was Dominica, it’s magnificence, its luxuriance; parrots, rivers, volcanoes and its deep cobalt sea, home to a majestic ocean megafauna of resident sperm whales and a world of creatures Mona cared about. Mona had Carib indian blood; those from Dominica were known throughout the Caribbean ark for their love of freedom and the fierceness with which they defended their rugged island paradise. And so it would be with Mona.

Mona’s multiple professional experiences and conservation projects would be largely responsible for change in the pro whaling policy exercised by her country. In 1994 the Antarctica whale sanctuary was adopted at the IWC in Puerto Vaillarta, Mexico and the conservation of cetaceans off Dominica became meaningful with reaffirmations of whale conservation policies by the current Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.

Through the ECCEA-EU programmes she pursued the nomination and déclaration in 1998 of the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, the Boiling Lake and its Valley of Desolation as the first UNESCO natural world héritage site in the insular Caribbean. Her reasoned political acuteness, legendary éloquence and sincere power of pursuasion were instrumental in many advances made at environmental conventions where industry failed to address local needs and concerns. If threats, arson, theft and assasination targeted ECCEA’s senior members, thus Mona herself, her stellar personality emboldened and enhanced our movement.

During the night Mona will have been accompanied on her journey by a host of living creatures she had cared for, whales and dolphins, those she had rescued from misery, from the smallest to the largest and that she spoke up for as she travelled around the world.

Lesley Sutty