Art Auction=Police Action?
Art auction raises $11,000 for Roatan’s National Preventiva Police in the first event of this kind in Honduras’ history

June 1st, 2005
by Thomas Tomczyk

[private] Over 200 people attended a first-of-its-kind benefit auction for the Policia Preventiva Nacional of the Bay Islands on May 15 at Palmetto Bay Plantation. “This is first such event for the benefit of Police I’ve seen,” said Jose Roberto Romero Luna, Honduran Commissioner General of Police, with 26 years experience in the Honduran Police Force. It is likely that this was the first art auction held in support of the Preventiva Police, but it is not the first fundraising event Roatanians have held in support of the police force.

In February 2004, a benefit dinner at Palmetto Bay Plantation raised around $4,000 through ticket and dinner sales for Roatan’s Preventiva. In March 2005, three motorcycles were handed over to Roatan’s Preventiva Police from the funds raised at the 2004 benefit.

Sara Mannix, auction coordinator with Waves of Art Gallery, displays full case of Linda Kay's Body Guard for open auction.

Sara Mannix, auction coordinator with Waves of Art Gallery, displays full case of Linda Kay's Body Guard for open auction.

The 2005 fundraiser opened with a silent auction on 54 art pieces contributed by artists and businesses from around the Bay Islands, Tegucigalpa and La Ceiba. Painter Virginia Castillo from La Ceiba and mixed media artist Gunter Kordovsky from Utila were among some of the featured artists. In total, 16 artists donated pieces to the auction. Profits from sales of most of the art pieces were split 60-40 between the artists and the police fund. The items and services offered at the live auction were donated by a total of businesses. 37 out of 44 businesses that contributed were foreign owned.

The highest selling item in the silent auction was a painting by Wilmer Sandres, from Tegucigalpa, selling for $1,200. The live auction brought out the fighting spirit in many bidders. Close to 40 items, ranging in opening bid from $8.10 for a White Russian Tiramisu to a $225 two-hour catamaran cruise were auctioned out loud. Some items brought as much as three times their retail value.

“Don’t lose it for five dollars,” shouted Tony Tedali, a West End business owner, who volunteered as auctioneer for the event. Tedali has 15 years experience as a Florida IRS, bankruptcy and Federal Government auctioneer. “I’ll do it again next year, or anytime,” said Tedali. Phil Weir, a Roatan realtor, was another volunteer auctioneer.

“The businesses that are here are helping the police and the community,” said Catharine McCabe, one of the volunteers at the event. For most people the event was about socializing and having a good time. Still, there was a fair amount of skepticism among some auction attendees who felt disillusioned about the performance of the Preventiva police in recent emergencies. Some decided to stay home, others bought tickets to the auction, but not to bid on any items.

There were 216 tickets sold to the event at $10 each and sale of donated beer and wine brought in $204. A total of $10,982 was raised. “We are very happy with the turn-out,” said Ana Svoboda, CANARURH-BI secretary. According to Svoboda the money will be spent on needs that both Roatan’s Preventiva and CANATUTH-BI will agree upon. [/private]

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