[private] Crime and punishment have long been topics of tremendous controversy and intense debate: heredity vs. environment, life sentence vs. death sentence, felonies vs. misdemeanors, on and on, with no end in sight. Psychologist, sociologist, behavioral scientists, criminologists, and theologians have all weighed on the topic. There has been however, fairly universal agreement that the most effective deterrent to criminal behavior is the surety of punishment.
This summer I saw the result of a study that revealed the one thing that people fear the most, is the loss of personal freedom: being sent to prison. I wholeheartedly concur with this conclusion.
That study could have been done right here in the Bay Islands, the conclusion would be the same as Bay Islanders are afraid of jail. I don’t have scientific evidence or raw data but from personal observation, it would seem that crime here on the Bay Islands has been steadily rising over the past twenty years, crimes of every category. I used to know individuals here that wouldn’t lie if you paid them, and would rather starve before they stole. That was then, this is now.
There is no doubt in my mind that there is a direct correlation between the increase in criminal behavior and the changing in demographics. In fairness I should point out that not all of the “imports” are guilty and not all of the locals are innocent. Nevertheless, the continuous increase in criminal activity here in the Bay Islands should be a major concern for us all, especially the violent crimes involving firearms, robberies, rapes and homicides.
The way information travels in our present electronic age could have a crippling effect on the tourist industry. We cannot afford to become a replica of the Honduran mainland. Foreign journalists routinely refer to Honduras as a lawless society. The only stories that make the news abroad relating to homicides are those committed with extreme atrocity, or gang perpetrated massacres.
I know we’re “not supposed to go public with this” but we have a serious problem that has to be dealt with now, otherwise the reputation of our islands will become irreparably damaged. Crimes are being committed in record numbers but no one is being held accountable.
Let’s face it; we have an untrained police force with no investigative skills, a corrupt judicial system with no prospects of improvement. There is nothing to deter those with a criminal proclivity. We have crime with no chance of punishment. Add to this, unchecked and unregulated migration from the mainland and we have a prescription for utter disaster.
If we are to retain any resemblance of who we are as a people, we must choose our own path and follow it. “The true measure of a people is not what they get from their ancestors, but what they leave their descendants” and finally this from the literary genius Victor Hugo, “There is one thing stronger than all the armies of the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.”