Back to the Future I

August 1st, 2006
by George S. Crimmin

[private] v4-8-Speaking OutPolice brutality, social injustice and alienation have always been part of the Bay Islanders psyche.
What can we trace this to? Let’s start with the constitution. The Honduran Constitution may help to provide an answer.

I recall a visit I made to Tegucigalpa in 2001 while serving as the senior aide and advisor to then Governor Dorn A. Ebanks. While waiting with him and others in the outer office of a prominent congressman, the secretary made a comment: “You gentlemen are from the Bay Islands. I am told that many of you do not consider yourselves to be Honduran. Who do you think you are? Let me remind you that the Bay Islands belong, BELONG! to Honduras.”

Suddenly that word ‘belong,’ struck a raw nerve and I found it necessary to respond. I said pointedly, “Lady, your house and dog belong to you, I do not. Furthermore, the reason many of us consider ourselves islanders first, is because we are sometimes treated like property, often times like foreigners in our own land. Perhaps if the constitution said the Bay Islands are part of Honduras, family membership could be understood, or at least implied.”

Article 10 of the Honduras constitution boldly states however, that the Bay Islands BELONG to Honduras. Maybe the wording was unintentional, nevertheless, I believe that language matters, and since the relationship between the Islands and the mainl and has always mirrored this definition, perhaps not. Bay Islanders feel that the central government has seldom acted in the best interest of these islands, and traditionally projected a myopic view in its vision for our future. At one point they even tried to stamp out the English language.

Has anything changed in this regard? Many of us prefer to take a “wait and see” attitude. In other words: the jury is definitely still out and may take a very long time to come in.

One thing is certain, there is an opportunity here for honest dialogue, to exchange ideas, share concerns and search for a solution that has eluded us for generations. Yogi Berra once said, “The future ain’t what it used to be.” We can only hope. [/private]

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