[private] I want to start off this column by stating that I realize I say things that sometimes make a lot of people uncomfortable. I am perhaps much more critical of the status quo, and public figures than many people are used to. You see, I believe you should always love your country, but never trust your government. Therefore, this article will feature more of the same. The late U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater once said, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue”. My country’s reputation for political corruption is practically unmatched in the western world. When economic and political power is consolidated into just a few hands, it breeds contempt. It also gives rise to dictatorial tendencies as well as corrupt practices. During a conversation this past January with one of our national leaders, I said, if Central America were a horse, Honduras would occupy that section right under the tail. Briefly, he seemed to take offense, but after an awkward pause, ended up agreeing with me. Why? Because of corruption. What exactly is corruption? I will tell you, it is the act of being dishonest, of taking bribes, of being depraved, rotten, putrid, to infect, to taint, even physical dissolution. Can I be any more forceful in my negative depiction of our sorry state of affairs? I think not! During the past couple of decades, Honduras has been ranked no lower than fifth in the world when it comes to corrupt countries. Currently we are ranked third, behind only the African countries of Cameroon and Nigeria. But, first in the Americas, and Western hemisphere. Many of you may recall a national poll taken a few years ago, where Hondurans ranked the most corrupt internal institutions.
To me, the results were beyond shocking, they were tragic! The reason? The judicial system was singled out as being the most corrupt. Think about it – the judicial system, or courts, is where you seek relief or remedy for all the other wrongs perpetrated in the country. If you cannot trust the justice system, who do you trust? To whom do you turn for help, for answers, how can you get justice? Justice, if you can call it that, is up for sale to the highest bidder. In many countries when an individual commits a serious crime such as murder, the speculation centers around whether that person will receive a sentence of life in prison, or even execution if convicted. In Honduras, the conversation centers around how much it will cost for that defendant to secure his or her freedom. If you can afford it, you can have it. All it takes is money! Some years ago I was offered a significant amount of cash to rent my Masters Diploma for 48 hours to one of our national educational leaders. He, of course, wanted to copy it and insert his name. When I declined his offer, he became verbally abusive. I told him that I considered his insults a badge of honor.
My fellow Bay Islanders, we are citizens of a country that is so corrupt that we must question everyone and everything. Imagine this, we have practicing attorneys that never attended law school, physicians that never graduated from medical school but rather they purchased their diplomas. Yogi Berra once said, “You can see a lot by just looking.” So, look around you, our beautiful islands are systematically being destroyed with official complicity by greedy and ignorant individuals. Our leadership is morally bankrupt from top to bottom. This country will never prosper until it deals successfully with its corrupt ways. And, until we are smart enough to elect leaders that are morally upright, we will continue to flounder in our epidemic state of corruption, moral decay and poverty. It’s time to make a clear distinction between us and mainland Honduras. Let’s pursue autonomy and see where it leads. In 1952, Puerto Rico became a self-governing commonwealth. In 1973, the Bahamas became fully independent, after three centuries of British Colonial rule. If others have done it, why can’t we? It is said that “the right angle to approach a difficult problem is the try-angle”. Don’t you think it’s time we try something different? Something new? [/private]