Fairwell to the VOICE
Thanking all Readers, Advertisers, Contributors and Writers

April 1st, 2012
by Thomas Tomczyk

[private] v10-4-My VoiceSince 2003 I have tried my best at running Bay Islands Voice with honesty, compassion and wisdom. This unforgettable rollercoaster of a ride has been an enriching and wonderful period of personal and spiritual growth for me. After nine years, I am stepping down as the magazine’s publisher.

The magazine is the creation of many, many people who have contributed their vision, talent and time to start it and keep it going over the years. The vast majority of islanders, mainlanders and foreigners whom I have met over the years have been gracious, helpful and appreciative of the work we have done through the publication.

We have always seen ourselves as a magazine that serves the community and reflects what the community is. While we hope that much of the stories on which we have reported are positive, we have not ignored the many sad and hurtful events that sometimes take place here.

The friendship of advertisers and the loyalty of our readers have been tested on many occasions, but in particular in 2009, the year full of earthquakes, hurricane-near-hits, street riots, coups and economic downturns.

“Know thyself” is a motto I try to follow in my life. I hope the magazine has followed this motto as well through its coverage and integrity. Any healthy community makes an effort to “understand itself” by cultivating its history, celebrating its present and anticipating where it is heading. This introspective journey is enriching on many levels but is often difficult and painful. Admitting and embracing truth about ourselves is a difficult yet indispensable element of healthy growth.

We at Bay Islands Voice think that we have contributed to that self knowledge of the Bay Islanders and that many readers understand their mother islands a bit more because of our being here.

Despite pressures to sensor from government officials, some advertisers and some readers, we have tried to balance the need to “speak truth to power” with the need for self preservation, both economic and physical. Being in the news and publishing business presents numerous opportunities for developing plenty of patience, thick skin and stoicism. Otherwise, ulcers and sleepless nights will get to you soon enough.

By far the most painful experiences for me were the murders, to this day unsolved, of several of my friends, in particular my Canadian friend Roger Walls and my German friend Nicolai Winter. I’ve seen more senseless death here than in the armed conflicts I covered as a freelance journalist in Sudan, Somalia and Yugoslavia.

I’d like to thank our staff: writers, photojournalists, distributors, office managers. Jamie Johnson and Keila Rochelle Thompson who started the magazine with me and worked tirelessly for several years. Orville Miller, our trusted and outgoing office manager who for over five and a half years became a continually more important part of the magazine. Thanks to Jennifer Matthews for managing the magazine while I was away in Africa, and Tanya Clemson for being a jewel to work with as our partner in Copan.

Many kudos to Alfonso Ebanks and George Crimmins for their hard-hitting and much-read editorials. For Gunther Kordovsky and Dr. John McVay for being “our men” on Utila and for their great writings. Thanks to Jenny Roberts for tirelessly editing and proofreading the magazine every month.

Our religion pages provided spiritual guidance to our readers thanks to the eloquent writings of Pastor Perry Elwin, Reverend Fredy Cabreras, Pastor Peter Silseth, Pastor Damian Chambers and Pastor Rudolph Abbott.

To all of you: thank you for reading Bay Islands Voice and thank you for your contributions, through writing and through purchasing the magazine. Thank you for the critique you’ve offered and the many interactions we’ve had.

I especially want to express my great thanks to our most faithful advertisers, the ones who lasted with us through thick and thin: Coconut Divers, Serrano Industrial, Hyde Shipping, Naviera Hybour, Safeway Maritime, Vegas Electric, Jade Seahorse, Waves of Art, Clinica Drs. Lanza, Anacaribe, Gumbalimba Park Aquatic Activities, Flying Fish and Tortuga Digital. Some advertisers, such as Casa Warren, Gibraltar and Flying Fish, are no longer with us but helped greatly in the first year of our enterprise. We will always have a sense of gratitude for them.

There are many, many other advertisers, hundreds in fact, who have helped us to put out the magazine every month, without exception. There is not enough space on this page to name them all, but be assured that I am grateful to them all.

I wouldn’t have made it without the friendships of dozens of amazing people and fascinating characters who gave me council, support and inspiration to keep me going. My stay here would have been without reason had it not been for their friendship. Thanks to my dear friends for being here when I needed them the most: Miguel Montoya, Gary Chamer, Ligia Lanza, Ana Svoboda, Charles George, Neil Keller, Norbert Pretnicki, Virginia Castillo. Special thanks to Steve Hasz who was a guide in realizing my dream to start Bay Islands Voice and who has spent long days in the transition of passing it to the new owner.

Beginning with the Voice’s May issue, the publisher of the magazine will be Mr. Robert Armstrong. He has lived and worked in Honduras, has worked as a journalist in the states and, I believe, has the energy and enthusiasm to continue and grow the magazine. I wish Robert the best of luck in his transition to the island community. I ask you to support him in making his transition to this post as smooth as possible. [/private]

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