Coral Reef Crime Scene Investigation South Eastern Caribbean

CSI Coral Reef Crime Scene Investigation
South Eastern Caribbean

The Buccoo Reef Trust, Tobago, hosted a regional CSI training workshop from June 10-14, 2009, under funding from the ICRAN BRT project. Eighteen participants were trained in how to conduct underwater natural resource injury investigations which can then be used to hold responsible parties accountable in a court of law.

Participants hailed from Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the USA, representing a range of professional natural resource trustee and enforcement backgrounds.

The CR CSI course material was delivered via lectures and in-water scenarios that took into account issues identified by participants as being critical to their particular experiences. The course emphasises a highly interactive approach to learning that includes participants making their own materials and working in teams throughout the training.

Participants also experienced a mock court trial on the final day of the workshop where they were ‘drilled’ as expert witnesses. During the course participants were divided into three teams and collected evidence representative of the scenarios described during their time together. Scenarios included a fish kill; a canon being transported by a local airline that fell onto a reef causing damage; and a boat crashing into a reef and a reef demarcation buoy resulting in reef damage and the sinking of the buoy. Teams submitted their evidence to the mock court and team representatives were called upon to present/defend their evidence.

Patricia Ramirez Romero presided over the court proceedings as Angelique Braithwaite, prosecutor presented each case and questioned team representatives on the evidence they collected. Dave Gulko and Renee Gift (participant and lawyer) acted as defense lawyers and showed no mercy as they grilled the witnesses on their evidence collection techniques. In all instances the defense found flaws that resulted in the evidence being thrown out and the case being dismissed. This exercise was extremely effective as it showed how critical it is to ensure that the method of evidence collection is meticulous and capable of standing up in a court of law.

This workshop was the second held within the eastern Caribbean (one was held in Barbados in November 2008) so now there is capacity within the region to facilitate the development of comprehensive teams that can conduct in-water crime scene investigations.

Workshop Photo Catalogue

Group photo

Mock Court Trial

Practical Instruction

Dry Run

Field Investigation Kit

Dry Run

Dry Run

Rapid Ecological Assessment

Dry Run

Practical Session

Dry Run

Impact Assessment