bi-weekly print & online magazine
for Roatan, Utila & Guanaja

cover story


by Jaime Johnston
photos by Thomas Tomczyk

After overcoming the rival West End Yankees in the first round, the Giants were pitted against their hometown Pirates. The young Giants showed determination and resilience throughout the series. After splitting the first two games in Coxen Hole on the opening day of the championship series, the Giants headed to Sandy Bay for the next match-up. Ebanks stressed to his team that they take each game at a time. "We have to play every game to win- not focus on elimination or where the series stands," said Ebanks. His advice proved successful as the Giants hammered the Pirates 15-3 in front of over 300 Sandy Bay fans on July 6. The Pirates walked off the field and defaulted in the eighth inning after falling behind 12 runs.
In the day's second game, the Giants continued their steady drive against the ailing Pirates. The Giants sealed the victory with a seventh inning surge led by Edison Bodden's home run. "Our goal was to score a run every inning. We didn't quite do that, but whenever I make an error, I try to do something to balance it," Bodden said. Bodden has been with the Giants through three seasons and is one of the four pitchers rotated through the Giants line-up. He registered a hit for every at-bat in Game 4.
After the two losses on July 6, the Pirates were down 3-1 in the series; to win, they would have had to sweep the final three games. "It's disappointing. On the road, we play excellent. But, at home, we haven't played well," said Pirates coach, Rupert Feurtado after the double loss. Feurtado has been involved in the Roatan Baseball League for nearly 15 years and expressed frustration with his team's performance that day. "To beat the Giants, you have to play aggressive. You have to come and be ready to play real baseball. Our guys didn't do that. (...) They didn't come in game shape," said Feurtado.

Leading into the July 13 games, the Giants needed only one win to secure the championship. "Our approach going into it [July 13 game] was to play our game. Keep it simple but hard. We wanted to play like we were the ones down in the series," said Ebanks.
Game day morning, it poured. The rain subsided by 11:30am, but there were delays while officials debated cancelling the games. Although the Pirates expressed hesitancy to take to the wet field, the game eventually started nearly two hours behind schedule. Initially, the Pirates appeared rejuvenated, taking a 4-1 lead after two innings. Ebanks quickly countered the offensive drive by replacing pitcher Maric Bennett with Timor Bodden. "A coach has to watch his pitcher. Pitching can affect the whole team. When Timor came in, everyone was alive again," said Ebanks.
The Giants managed to steadily climb back into the game, tying it at 4-4 at the end of the seventh. Outstanding infielding and Bodden's consistent pitching allowed the Giants to hold the Pirates scoreless while evening the score. It was in the eighth inning where the Giants managed to break open the game. They scored a total of four runs, sparked by strong batting of Stephen Wesley and Willie McBride. "We were a bit nervous at first. After we tied it, we were more confident and started to play stronger," said Giants' catcher, Willie McBride.
After two easy outs at the top of the ninth, Timor Bodden provided a decisive strike-out to claim the game and the championship. The Giants team charged the field and celebrated with their coach on the mound. "To come from behind and win, we just feel so happy," said McBride.
Pirates Co-coach, Bill Etches credited the Giants pitching staff for the victory. "We got a lead but couldn't hold it. Their pitching was stronger. (...) They have a very strong and young team." said Etches. Timor Bodden didn't allow a single run for all seven innings that he pitched. "Timor's one of the best change-up pitchers," said Ebanks. Timor Bodden joined the Giants two years ago after playing three years with Kool and the Gang. "He really closed it out for us," added McBride.
The championship comes to the Giants club after only three seasons in existence. Many of the players came to the Giants after the Coxen Hole Nine Tops disbanded. After only a few wins in their 2001 debut season, the Giants won 21 games last year. They were

eliminated in the first round of the 2002 playoffs by the champion West End Yankees. "After losing out last year, we made some player changes. We picked up Maric Bennett and Willie McBride. It's been a major difference for the team," said Ebanks. In addition, Ebanks and Giants Manager Stephen Wesley increased practice time to four times weekly. "Our coach has done a great job. He knows us really well. He gets excited and that gets us going too," praised McBride.
As the Roatan Champions, the Giants will travel to San Pedro Sula in August to compete for the national championship. "There will be some adjustments to mainland play. They call a lot of low strikes there and the team will also have to get used to playing night games," said Ebanks.
The postseason isn't over yet for the second-place Pirates. According to Etches, his team will play a second place San Pedro Sula team for a wild card entry into the national tournament. Pirates staff will look to make some player adjustments before the playoffs. "We have a lot of really good players, but we lack pitching," said Etches. Having faced mainland clubs before, Etches is familiar with the differences between mainland and island teams. "Mainland teams practice more, have more funding, and they're more disciplined. We're mainly fastball hitters, so they will throw a lot of curveballs. (...) But, player by player, we're just as talented," explained Etches. If the Pirates win the wild card spot, it will be the first time that two Roatan teams compete for the national championship.
For the next month, the Pirates and Giants will continue practicing to maintain their game shape and fine-tune their skills. "We need to do some diamond work," said Pirate Walter James. The Giants will stick with the winning formula made them the 2003 Roatan Champions. "I tip my hat to the Giants- they always seem to have our number. They're such a great team; they have a real edge," said Pirate outfielder, Ross Connor.

1. 80% Coverage Protection for Fans:

Coxen Hole

There is no absolute safety for any Roatan baseball fan. The fans/gamblers sitting behind home plate in Coxen Hole like to gamble at higher odds.
2. Heat-retaining Uniforms:
Sandy Bay Pirates

The series could have been a little closer if not for the Pirates uniforms' polyester heat retaining and stretch resistant qualities. It's hard to run to first base when your uniform drops to your knees.
3. Best After-Party:
Sandy Bay Pirates

If there is a bar and four 400 Watt speakers 30 feet behind home plate, who needs to go home? Sandy Bay fans face that dilemma after every game.
4. Most Barely-legal Players:
Sandy Bay Giants

If half of your team outgrows their uniforms in one season... maybe you should be in another league... youth?
5. Bermuda Triangle Award:
Gravel Bay, Coxen Hole, Sandy Bay

Ever wonder what happened to the 274 lost baseballs of the 2003 season?
6. Hottest Stands/Heat Stroke Award:
Gravel Bay

If you ever wandered where to get a heat stroke before the seventh inning, go no further than Gravel Bay. At least the players got new benches.
7. Most Vicious Fans:
Gravel Bay

They might be few in numbers, but things could get vicious in among the Gravel Bay fanatics. Maybe it's the lack of shade?
8. Behind-the -plate Bravery:
Umpire Edgar Brooks

A combination of good humor and tact of an Iraqi foreign minister should get you through umpiring most games in the Island League. Edgar Brooks has got it all.
9. Highest Player to Girlfriend Attendance Ratio-
West End Yankees

When half of all fans in attendance are players' girlfriends, how can you concentrate on the game?
10. Sexiest Player:
Jed James, Sandy Bay Pirates

He may be young, but he's already got a killer arm with a killer smile.

I share my house with a whole number of creatures, yet I'm the only one paying rent. Is that fair you might ask? You can't look at such a diversified living environment without appreciating the complexity of the relationships here.
Coming from Europe, I am used to thinking I should be the sole inhabitor of any space. Any trespassers: ants, roaches or mice are subject to immediate extermination. My attitude grew much more flexible on Roatan. I feel almost an integral part of a small house community. I might feel a small hint of superiority (as a mammal and primate), but we have other mammals here, some of them even fly; we have, insects and amphibians. I just still can't justify why I should be the only creature paying rent?
The rats have gone in the first week of renting the house. There were the rats that inhabited the laundry room and ate away corridors inside walls. You could say the conflict was inevitable.
There are the geckos whose footsteps I hear on the roof every morning. The geckos are at conflict with roaches and I try not to take sides.
I just can't say I have the only dwelling on the Islands without a cockroach. In fact, there are several of them; I don't really know if they know each other, as one always hangs out in the master bath while the other prefers the kitchen environment.
Maybe they are territorial, or maybe they have a renting arrangement with each other.
And did I mention bats- a whole colony it seems like? They seem to be on a very quick breeding cycle with new bat babies weaning every two weeks followed by nonstop feeding and squeaking noises. Way too many times, the young feeding bats have made me put in earplugs as I was trying to sleep at 3am.
Then, there is the dog and the dog has occasional ticks that visit, but don't stay. I haven't seen a dog flea in some time.
Did I mention we don't have termites? They would probably cause us all problems.
My wasp population is on the rise. The wasps are involved in building their house next/below/in my house. The wasps technically inhabit the outside of the house, but the porch is at times too close for comfort. An occasional wasp flies into the house and scares my guests. If you want to get technical about it, I guess we are more like close neighbors than housemates.
Yet, we- geckos, roaches, bats and humans- somehow all get along. With minor incidents such as wasps frightening my guests, bats keeping me awake or cockroaches entertaining my dog, our lives are that of symbiosis. Cockroaches depend on me as a source of food; I depend on the geckos to let me know its 5am and so, our house turns. But, shouldn't we all pay rent?
local news
A warm stench of unwashed clothes and bodies radiates from the cell door. There are no windows and the only light comes through the bars of the four-foot wide door. The 14 by 14 foot cell has a toilet and water valve; that's the extent of the hygiene. Dirty foam mattresses are stacked up against the wall during the day, but with 18 people there is little room to move around anywhere.
The only jail on the Bay Islands has swollen to capacity and puts stress on police force, appalls visitors and ruins the health of prisoners. Many prisoners have skin sores and fever. The judge is petitioned to allow hospital visits, but theses are rarely granted. The single police staff nurse rarely has the time or energy to see the prisoners.
Jorge Eden, 20, has been in cell number three from June 2002. He has not left the cell since. He is accused of an assault with a deadly weapon, but is still awaiting sentencing. "I haven't seen my lawyer in a month," says Eden. Few prisoners here can afford a private attorney. With only three public defenders in the Bay Islands, sometimes months pass between visits. "Only Licenciada Pabon comes to visit with any frequency," says about the public attorney's Lieutenant Oscar Murillo.
There can be as many as 30 people held up in a cell. According to Lieutenant Murillo, a grim record was set when 60 prisoners crowded the prison cell one day in 2002. Island prisoners are held in one cell, while Hispanic prisoners are in the other.
Cell number number one is the smallest. It is for women and juveniles. As the 5' by 7' room is too small to house a toilet, the prisoners can ask permission to use the toilet outside.
Across the hallway from the prisoners, there is the police dormitory. At the end of June, Henry Morgan donated three bunk beds that were immediately put to use. 21 bunk beds are shared by 40 policemen. The Preventiva policemen have to share the bathroom with women prisoners living just a few feet away. "If they live in conditions like this, how can they be motivated to work?" asks police Lieutenant Murillo.

Simple purchases such as shovels or bunk beds depend on the generosity of local businesses. "If we could get a couple picks, a shovel and a wheelbarrow, we could have the prisoners start preparing the ground for a new building," says Lieutenant Murillo. The prisoners are not provided food by the police; they have to rely on family for nourishment. The people without family on Roatan have to buy food if they have money or count on the generosity of their cell mates.
Sergio Luhan Nunez, 24, is one of 16 Hispanic prisoners held in cell number two.
Nunez says that he has AIDS and that his requests for transfer out of jail have not been answered. "I just want to go home and die in the care of my family," says Nunez.
Some prisoners are sent to the Coxen Hole prison from Utila and Guanaja. Orbin Mauricio Merendez, 23, from Mosquitia is awaiting 2,000 Lps. so he can be transported to Puerto Lempira for sentencing.
Lieutenant Murillo suggests that a committee for the security of Roatan should be created to manage the tax funds that are raised for, among other items, the maintenance of the Coxen Hole prison. "There were 300,000 lempiras in the fund [caja de la seguridad ciudadana] last year and we would like to know how much is there now," says Lieutenant Murillo.

By Thomas Tomczyk

The recent Roatan Electric Power Company (RECO) outages have caused major disturbances for Roatan residents. On July 6, the No. 3 generator broke down, forcing RECO to ration their power supply over the next five days. This resulted in frequent blackouts across the island.
Roatan's daily electricity demand ranges from 4-6 megawatts; this is normally met, as RECO has five working generators with a capacity to support 8.6 megawatts. The No. 1 generator was undergoing routine maintenance operations and this decreased working capacity to 6.6 megawatts. RECO was still able to meet demand until their No. 3 generator broke down, reducing their capacity to 4.6 megawatts. Although RECO purchased a 1.6 megawatt back-up generator in Feb. 2003, they had to ration power through controlled outages. "We have data on the demand of each sector. We try to ration by sector in an effort to be fair," said RECO General Manager Leonardo Casco.
Of RECO's 6,500 customers, nearly 1,000 are area businesses. "We lost two weeks of productivity over the four days that RECO cut power," said Sandra Sampayo of French Harbour's Bay Islands Marketing, "RECO owes us an enormous apology."
After the No. 3 generator broke down, RECO rented an additional generator at a monthly cost of $25,000. This brought their capacity to a borderline 6 megawatts. "Because of our experiences in the past and the type of complaints we've received about the way we rationed, we have given increased priority to the West Bay-West End area, which is considered to be a key sector for the island's economy," said Casco.
According to Casco, RECO began meeting full power demand again on July 11, ending the power rationing and frequent outages. "We are concerned with service and reliability and we also understand that our customers are concerned too," said Casco, "The RECO Board realizes that we now need a second back-up generator."
The RECO Board is developing measures to improve service efficiency and minimize power rations. RECO plans to build back-up power lines from Flower's Bay to West Bay and adjust their distribution setup. "The kind of [generator] units we are purchasing allow us to move units to different places so that we can decentralize our power source. This means that if we lose power in one area, other sectors may still have service," explained Casco.
The 2003 Roatan Municipal budget is 42,276,000 LPs From January until May, 33% of the projected revenue(14,251,000 LPs) has been received. According to Gabriel Garcia, Municipal's chief accountant, the 2003 Roatan Municipal spending looks better than last year as only 34% of the incoming revenue has been spent. Garcia has been Coxen Hole Municipality chief accountant for three years and a municipal employee since 1998. The law allows for only 50% of the incoming revenue to be spent and, last year at this time, this number was already approaching 50%.
The biggest revenue jump for the municipality has been from property taxes. The 4,000,000 LPs collected in 2002 are expected to more than double to 8,850,000 LPs in 2003.
The scholarship program for students in primary, secondary schools and Universities has been suspended. The program had begun by Mayor Jerry Hynds five years ago, but urgent street improvements forced it to be taken out of the 2003 budget. The money allocated for Coxen Hole street improvement the is 3,242,929 LPs; 46% of this is already spent.


Tax on property 8,850,000
Salary Taxes 560,000
Taxes on Small Businesses 80,000
Taxes on Industry 4,315,000
Utility Fees 2,844,000
Rent of City Property 294,000
Registration, Permits, etc. 8,810,000
Fines 230,000
Interests 111,000
Previous years' uncalled fees 3,235,000
Sale of Cemetery Lots 200,000
Central Government Help 350,000
Implement Tax on Business 4,060,000
Operating Savings 8,330,000

2003 BUDGET (LPs)

Salaries and office maintenance 6,394,000
Financial Administration 17,616,000
Public Works 17,960,000
Community Development 305,000

Read other issues of
the Bay Islands Voice

No. 1
March 27 2003
No. 2
April 10 20
No. 3
April 24

No. 4
May 8

No. 5
May 22
No. 6
June 5

No. 7
June 19

No. 8
July 3


No. 9
July 17