I sit in the passenger seat with Jenkins as he drives his golf cart down a narrow street of Guana Cay’s settlement.
I ask him where all the Save Guana Cay Reef signs are. For the past three years, the signs have decorated the settlement. They say things like, ‘Keep our reef alive and beautiful’ and ‘Respect the Locals’ They are hand-painted signs on plywood.
Jenkins gives me this look, the kind a farmer might give a city boy asking for directions. He says that the signs disappear in the night. “We find them at the bottom of the harbor,” he says, pointing to the natural moon-shaped harbor. “We find them in the woods.”
“Just a few days ago, they threw them in our cemetery. That’s vandalism and desecration,” Jenkins says as we pass the island’s small cemetery. I ask, “Why don’t you just make more signs?”
“It’s not that easy,” Jenkins explains. “Those plywood sheets are not cheap. We can’t afford to always make new signs.”
He says, “paint costs money.”
This comment gives me pause; Save Guana Cay Reef hasn’t two hundred bucks for a big sign. No money, no voice, like so many other small faraway places, doomed by isolation.
Discovery Land Company on the otherhand, has unleashed millions against Save Guana Cay Reef. Their international legal team resembles O.J. Simpson's in its size. They have poured millions into image control in the form of donations to local environmental groups, to Universities, even in the form of promises of money to locals of Guana Cay itself.