Barbaret’s falling out
Foreigners and authorities meet to discuss the incident and its repercussions.

August 1st, 2007
by Thomas Tomczyk

[private]

Tim Blanton, an American resident on Roatan asks a question.

Tim Blanton, an American resident on Roatan asks a question.

The death of three Helene Island youth in a boat ramming and the Spanish TVs coverage of the incident became the focus of the meeting at Coral Cay on June 6. Around 50 foreigners listened to the authorities’ version of what took place and then voiced their concerns. “This was no accident. This was premeditated murder,” said Congressman Hynds.

Congressman Hynds and Governor Thompson agreed that arrests were made swiftly and the judicial process was taking place as it should. Still, at least some Saint Helenians were leaving nothing to chance. “We have people who trace them, so the authorities just wouldn’t let them go on the mainland,” said Wally Bodden, Santos Guardiola councilman, about the three men arrested for ramming the Saint Helene boat.

The foreigners at the meeting were concerned more with the aftermath of the incident and the scapegoat of foreigners in the local media. Several people raised concerns that both Roatan TV stations, run by Spanish speaking staff, have accused Kelcy Warren, an American owner of Barbaret, of ordering or personally killing the Helen island youth. “I was frightened of what Roberto [Romero] was saying and how far he was inciting the people,” said Helen Murphy, an American living on Roatan, about a Channel 4 TV personality.

Channel 4 owner, Marco Galindo, agrees that the Barbaret coverage crossed a line: “These guys [Channel 4 personalities] are not very smart and when people call in, it makes a big commotion.” While Galindo says that Channel 4 coverage is far from being journalism, he still gives his TV staff a wide degree of independence.

A different take on the matter had Congressman Jerry Hynds. “It was the Spanish media that took advantage of this. They [just] didn’t want to say Spanish guys killed some black boys,” said Congressman Hynds. “There was always a great rivalry between island people and Spanish people.” As Bay Islands grow and the wealth gap amongst its residents widens, foreigners will likely play an active role in this “rivalry.” [/private]

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