Along the sea front people are doing the same kinds of things that happen on sea fronts all over the world and the red bricks of the promenade are starting to heat up in the early morning sun. There are some joggers and just a few swimmers. Other people are moving their towels into place on sun-loungers to reserve them. Jet skis are being hauled into place and on a quiet part of the red bricks, a small troop of local youths, including one girl, who is modestly dresses in an all-over track suit with her hair covered, are practicing kick-boxing, kicking a pair of padded bats held high in the air by their trainer.
Two patrol men riding two-wheeled Segways weave through the throngs of tourists and local people strolling on the promenade. Sunday is a holiday for all and the hard sand adjacent to the sea is filled from one end of the bay to the other with local boys playing football. (The IWC is not of course the only international competition happening at this point and here football is a major interest.)
Some newly planned palm trees provide a little shade as delegates migrate along the promenade from their seaside hotels to the Conference Centre of the Golden Dunes.
Outside the conference centre today there two types of police in attendance, some standing behind the small trees that line the pavements. (They are not seeking camouflage, just enjoying the little shade that the trees offer.) The men in the smart khaki-coloured uniforms carry a two handled baton on their belts but the equally smart policemen in blue uniforms also have revolvers at their hips. Across the car park outside the conference entrance, tents are being moved into place – perhaps to take the overspill at coffee time – and inside a closed commissioners meeting is occurring in a hot room in the basement that we shall call the dungeon.
This cramped meeting of the commissioners (potentially representing 88 countries) only (give or take an aide or two) is expected to be looking at a revised version of the Chair’s proposal (The Deal). The last few days in earlier closed sessions were mainly devoted to discussions about this and Saturday may have been taken up with trying to draft something new – something more sweetly sugared to suit the tastes of a majority who might then vote it into place.
So what can we expect to see over the coming next few days?
Well either there will or will not be a new proposal to discuss, if there is (or perhaps even if there is not, we can expect countries to state their positions and at this meeting countries that have long been allies in their opposition to whaling may fall out. In particular the support from the
The less surprising support from the whaling nations (or at least
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