Bay Islands Odyssey
Part I

July 1st, 2011
by George S. Crimmin

[private] v9-7-Speaking OutRecently in one of my columns I asserted that identity can be the most fundamental of struggles. Bay Islanders have wrestled with this issue for generations, and I don’t believe we will ever settle this until we take full responsibility for our own destiny. Perhaps in so doing we will get a clue to the outcome of our ultimate odyssey. I have been an advocate for Bay Islands Autonomy for as long as I can remember, and instead of those sentiments diminishing, they have grown stronger over time. I remain totally convinced that the best and perhaps only way for us to preserve our culture, is to become autonomous.

Unless we take a firm stand very soon, we will lose our culture forever. The Bay Islands were once a pround colony of Great Britain. After the surrender to Honduras in 1861, instead of becoming a part of Honduras, we became, just a colony of the mainland. A colony to exploit, oppress and victimize. We Bay Islanders, especially the dark skinned ones, have never enjoyed equal status with mainlanders. We have traditionally been treated like second class citizens, in the words of my late grandmother, like “steerage”.

Our older members with their in-elegant Spanish accent and clumsy verb conjugations, have at times been treated with outright contempt by the mainland elite. I recall in earlier years when an exit visa was required to leave the country, immigration officials gloated of how they ripped-off our sailors. Today it is the tax collectors that are ripping us off. What’s taking place is nothing short of extortion.

Very few people have the luxury of being freely obnoxious. But in every society there are a few individuals who are able to rise to the occasion. Each day these rapacious vultures take their urges and egos out for parade. They are so impressed with their autocratic powers and self-aggrandizement, that they appear to exist in a different realm. I say that it’s time we told these toxic, demented vampires where to go, permanently! Aren’t you tired of being intimidated, harassed, victimized and exploited by these government sponsored thieves? If you are, then it’s time to sever the umbilical cord to the mainland, otherwise, this will not only continue, it will get even worse. They keep inventing new ways to bleed us. A government’s first priority is to protect its Citizens. We are besieged by criminal elements, common and official. I do not believe that some spectacular and costly future action can become the miraculous solution to all our current difficulties. It doesn’t work that way in the real world. We desperately need to search our souls to see what emerges from the deep currents of our convictions.

One of my top priorities has been to convince my fellow Bay Islanders that they themselves have the power to bring about change. In recent days, freedom has been breaking out all over the world. Isn’t it time we got into the act as well? Why should we continue to tolerate a government that is totally corrupt, and whose interest is solely in seeing how much it can take? Our ancestors were known for their fierce independence, this was one of their biggest indentifying characteristics. The Central Government in fact, left them pretty much to themselves. It wasn’t until in recent years, when dollar signs began to appear, that the Central Government began to show interest in our islands. That interest however, always evolves around how much there is for the taking.

I am convinced that the original intent of treaty between Honduras and Great Britain was for us to be autonomous. We need to have everyone on board if we are going to be successful in our quest for autonomy. We have talented and dedicated people fully capable of leading us, all we need is courage and conviction. We are continually faced with great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems. One of life’s greatest pleasures is doing what others say you cannot do. I have proposed that we select a steering committee, with representatives from all three Islands to design a roadmap of future events. In the coming months as we forge ahead we must stand together, united in purpose and determination. [/private]

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