Monthly news magazine for Roatan,
Utila & Guanaja
July, 2005 Vol.3 No. 7
Calendar Style
Bay Islands Voice Updates:
feature story / editorial / local news / business

Words and Photos by Thomas Tomczyk

Roatan scooter businesses multiply from one to 10 in two years

Roatan Scooter Wars

"Imitation is the ultimate form of flattery," or so they say. Feeling most flattered on the island should be Captain Van (AKA Nathan Zane Van Meter) who in 1997 had an idea to open the first moped and scooter rental shop in West End. He started his business with 10 used beach cruiser bicycles, a couple of Chinese bicycles and seven mopeds.
He survived Hurricane Mitch, occasional competition and, until a year-an-a-half ago, had a monopoly on scooter rentals on Roatan. Then the "flattery" began. And now there are at least 14 businesses and individuals renting anywhere between two and 32 scooters to anyone with a couple dozen bucks… for 24 hours at least...

Heather and Steven Scott, both 26, from Pennsylvania, came to Roatan on the Norwegian Sea cruise ship on June 14. On their eight hour stopover that began at noon they decided to visit French Harbour and then drive back to do some snorkeling in West Bay. They got as far as Dixon Cove where Steven Scott swerved off the road to avoid an oncoming taxi and crashed the scooter. He stood with a bleeding foot on the side of a road deciding what to do next.
The couple didn't remember from whom they rented their 125cc Yumbo scooter and didn't have any paperwork. The one thing they remember was the rental price - $60. "The price is a little steep. In Italy we paid $25 and on Canary Island $40," said Heather Scotch.
Riding a scooter can be a dangerous affair. Most tourists are dressed for the beach, sporting flip flops and bikinis, rather then protective clothes for a long drive on a busy road. Honduran law requires a scooter driver to wear a helmet, but doesn't specify what type of helmet. Some helmets given to scooter renters are not motorcycle quality and, especially at the cruise ship dock, most visitors decline to take helmets with them. This and the condition of quickly aging, sometime badly maintained scooter rental fleets provides the potential for a scooter disaster. It's an accident waiting to happen. The only question is when.

Captain Van, AKA Nathan Zane Van Meter, was the original inventor of the scooter rental idea on Roatan. In 1997 he began renting scooters, mopeds and motorcycles under a mango tree in West End and had to fend off competition with skill and tack for years. "I've always felt that to make a success of any business venture.....find what everyone else is doing, and then don't do it. There were plenty of restaurants, bars, dive shops, churches, but no one was doing the obvious...renting two wheels," said Van Meter, original owner of Captain Van's.
He eventually decided to go back to the US and in August 2004 sold "Captain Van's" to Murray Russ, a sales manager for major Canadian firm.
Looking for the island life and to run a business involving customer relations Russ, 42, left his lucrative management job at and moved from the Canada prairie to sunny Roatan.
With a one year of college and numerous management courses, Russ began managing a chain of 16 stores at the age of 19. Now it's back to the basics for him: three employees, 15 scooters, 5 motorcycles and 10 mountain bikes. Still, Russ is planning on adding another location before the end of the year.
"I didn't want to be a part of that chaos," said Russ about his decision to stay out of the cruise ship dock. He decided to focus of image, customer service and marketing instead. He built a sophisticated, catchy website, developed a recognizable logo and built an air-conditioned office. No more relying on the shade of the mango tree.
Even though several newcomers to the scooter business are talking about forming an association, not everyone sees its advantage. "I don't believe it is in my best interest to be a part of an association. I don't believe in controlling prices," said Russ.
On April 28, Russ launched a "one dollar an hour scooter rental" special, based on a 24 hour rental. "I only reacted to competition prices." Russ' promotion reverberated throughout the scooter rental community with several of them lowering their prices to $24, or less.
Russ keeps a close watch over community boards, in particular, discussing cruise ship experiences. "They comment all the time about high pressure sales tactics of scooter rentals at the [Roatan] dock," said Russ. . "Most of them will just say 'Here's the bike, here are the keys. See you.'"
Looking at the example of Cozumel and Cayman Islands, Russ sees scooter participation in Roatan traffic changing dramatically. "In a year-and-a-half, cars will dominate the road," says Russ. "Only strong, confident riders will decide to rent scooters."

Murray Russ, owner of Captain Vans, in front of his West End scooter shop.

Blake Cooper, 20, is the youngest scooter entrepreneur and owner of "Roatan Scooter Rental." With financial help and an idea from his father, a dentist living in the US, Cooper was the first one to go directly to the cruise ship docks to offer scooter rentals.
Cooper begun with seven 70cc scooters and now has 20 125cc Yumbas at his two locations in West End and at the Cruise Ship dock. "Work at the cruise ship dock is almost like hustling," said Cooper who adjusts his fees depending on location: from $30 to $45.
"A guy with a Harley Davidson tee-shirt, or a tattoo is our perfect customer," said Cooper. "They can drive anything and always pay full price," said Blake who often manages the sales at the cruise ship dock. "As long the cruise ships will be coming there will be business to be made."

And then there were three…
"At $24 you're breaking even… especially if you have Japanese scooters," said Paul Jeffries, 35, from Oak Ridge, owner of "Jeffries Scooter Rental." He rents his scooters for $40, a price tag that includes 16% tourist tax, 4% credit card charge and around $5 in free gasoline.
Jeffries, energetic and jovial, started his Coxen Hole rental business with cars and but then noticed an opportunity to rent scooters as well. "Not many people have much vision, but they follow what someone else will do. I didn't feel fair if I went Captain Van's his market" said Jeffries. In April 2004 he bought five, then another five scooters and went into business. "[Initially] I was planning going big, buying 20 scooters, but if I did I wouldn't be here telling happy stories," said Jeffries.
14 months later, four of the scooter rental businesses are allowed within the gates of Roatan Cruise ship dock. There are no monthly fees and according to Jeffries the decision on who can be inside the gate was made on first come-first serve basis.
After purchasing the 100cc Yamahas for around $1,900 and running them for two years, Jeffries plans to sells them at half price. Jeffries estimates that while Japanese scooters depreciate at 20% year, the number is as high as 75% for Chinese scooters. He was only the third business on the island.

Carlton Woods, 53, a veteran business person, ran a souvenir business for many years before going "scooter." It was his position as assistant superintendent at Roatan's cruise ship dock that allowed him to see the opportunity for a lucrative scooter business. "The West End [scooter] market is flooded," said Woods. "I saw a guy from Tegus who wanted to do a scooter business and when he didn't start it I decided to do it."

Woods thinks that the scooter business has reached a saturation point. "A year from now companies that are here now, will be here still," said Woods.

Five, Six, Seven, Eight…
One of the newer additions to the scooter community is Adam Santos, 25, was also looking for an opportunity to come back to the island of his ancestors. He originally was going to manage bungalow rentals, but ended-up buying five Yamaha scooters and in December 2004 launched "Santos Scooter" in West End. "In a year's time only the three medium-size scooter businesses will survive," said Santos who rents his scooters for $35.
Alberto Allert, 48, owns the most scooters on the Bay Islands…. 104 to be exact. The founder of Tropical Rentals has three locations thought Roatan and imports his scooters directly from manufacturer, ZYMotor of Hong Kong. He is, for now at least, the most recent arrival to the scooter rental community.
With a broad smile and shoulder-long grayish hair, Allert moved to Roatan in September 2004 to build a five star West Bay "Colonial Hotel." Finding out that the permit and building process will take longer then he expected he found himself at a loss. "I thought to myself, 'What am I going to do with all that time? Well, I'll just open a scooter rental,'" said Allert. He opened his business in March 2005 and almost overnight became the biggest scooter proprietor the islands have ever seen.
After transforming himself from a General Manager of an industrial company in Milan, Italy, Allert went to Antigua, Guatemala where he worked for eight months running a scooter rental; he has two years of similar experience on Ibiza, Spain.
Allert plans to sell his scooters locally once they hit 1,000 kilometers on the odometer. There are already a couple available, priced at $950, standing in front of his Mango Center bureau. "It's possible that in a year there will be more scooters than taxis here," said Allert.
With several people moving scooters to the side of the road as a cruise ship comes in, there are as many scooter rental places in West End as there are dive shops: nine. West End has become a scooter alley and the scooter virus just keeps on spreading.
"Moonlight Scooter Rental," owned by Julisa and Dina Rodriguez from San Pedro Sula is ready to start business in July. Five 140cc Chinese Yiben scooters are just waiting for a business license under a giant mango tree next to Monkey Bar in West End.
The question is who will say quits first. The investment of buying a couple Chinese scooters isn't very big. According to Jeffries it is possible to purchase a Chinese scooter directly from China for little over $400.
With a fleet of 15 125cc Motolansa Chinese scooters, another San Pedrano, Miguel Fernadez, launched "Xtreme Scoote rentals" in February. The owner of a San Pedro computer store leaves the business operation to a three-person staff and comes down to Roatan once a month.
According Danieli Callejas, a 26 year-old sales agent, the price includes damage insurance to the rented scooter. For an extra $4 Xtreme Rentals offers third party insurance and another $2 personal insurance. Only few Xtreme customers take advantage of the extra insurance: "Most people are happy spending as little as possible," said Callejas. Renting at a "low season price" of $24 a day, some customers bargain the price down to $20. After one attempt Xtreme tried, but gave-up renting scooters by the cruise ship dock. "It was just too chaotic," said Callejas.
On June 21, Norwegian Sea pulled into Roatan port, bringing 1,500 passengers. With a 1,800 passenger capacity it is one of the smaller ships that visit Bay Islands.
"You want to rent a scooter?" asks James Allan, 45, probably the most hyper, most energetic of all the scooter business owners inside the cruise ship gates. In 2004 Allan started with one scooter, nine months later he has seven.
Allan is used to pressure sales. Just two years ago he was supporting his family by selling corn, melons and fruits. Now he has become the power seller of scooter rentals at the cruise ship dock. "I'm the best. You can say: I'm the best," said Allan, who can't complain of a lack of confidence.
In fact Allan is good enough that every day at the cruise ship begins with a bike rented by him, then its Woods Motor Rental's turn, then Roatan Scooter Rental, then Jeffries'. Then the companies just keep rotating until they run out of bikes.
All the "in the dock" scooter companies rent for the same price, they start at an off-season $40 and go down from there. "$25 is as low as I can go," said Allan who has a keen eye for spotting good and potentially troublesome customers. "The spring break guys. You got to worry about them," said Allen.
By the end of the day seven scooters were rented, a low number compared to about 40 the inside the gates companies have rented just a week before during Valor cruise ship visit. "The competition off-season isn't as intense," explained Allen.
Things at and around the cruise ship dock have changed dramatically. "People were afraid to get off the cruise ship," said Allan about the melee that used to take place in front of the cruise ship dock. Things all changed when, in October 2004, Roatan Municipality passed and enforced a "no street vendor law" and establish a dispatcher booth for taxis.
Now the "illegal" scooter rentals operate out of homes around the cruise ship dock. "These guys give a bad name to us," said Allan about individual scooter rentals that display their scooters on the street within the 300 meter "no street vendors" from within the cruise ship dock. "It starts at $50 at the dock and the further you go its $40, $30, $20 and finally you can get a scooter for $25," said Walter Forest of Captain Van's.
Choosing a type of scooter for rentals is a serious decision. The Chinese scooters are cheaper, but have a lower resale value and break-down quicker.
The four stroke Yamaha scooters on Roatan have another advantage over the two stroke Chinese machines: they are faster and more economical. "If you forget to mix-in the oil [into the four-stroke engine] it will get broken," said Carlos Segura, 40, an independent mechanic working with several scooter rental places and private scooter owners in Coxen Hole. Segura stated that the 125cc Chinese Yumbo scooter is almost as good as the Yamaha scooter. "The worst ones are the ZYMotor scoters," said Segura who noticed that the most frequent problem is breaking of the bike's carburetor due to poor design and parts quality.
The times are tough and competition is just getting tougher. May, June and September are the worst months for the scooter business. They coincide with the lowest number of visitors coming to the Bay Islands. Scooter companies have to fight for every customer, lowering prices, and in few cases at least, raising standard of service.

Norwegian Sea Cruise passengers get ready for a scooter ride around Roatan.

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House With No Number, A Street With No Name by Thomas Tomczyk

When working on a first-ever street map of Coxen Hole, Utila Town and West End I realized that almost no streets have been given, let alone been marked with names, signs or numbers.
As police have to confront the growing number of confused tourists driving "against traffic" on Roatan's "Main Street," this will eventually change: it just has to. The question is "When?" Meantime this chaos causes problems and helps to maintain the "disorganized" image of Bay Islands as a third world destination.
Coxen Hole, by far the largest and fastest growing island city, has practically no officially named streets with Main Street being one notable exception. With the sprawling chaos of growth in the barrio El Swampo onto the hill by the Mormon Church even Calle Ocho (8th Street) seems to have been "misplaced" by many Roatanians. Where does it start? Does it end at the market, or make a turn and keep on going?
This basic lack of knowledge of the environment contributes to the elevated anxiety of Coxen Holians. Where am I from? Where do I live? Is a basic question they too often have problems answering.
The Bay Islands have practically no community-owned or -managed public spaces. There are no parks to speak of and no playgrounds. The effort to create these spaces will take soul searching,

planning and a lot of money. Meantime there is a much more efficient, economical and speedy way of improving the Bay Islands public spaces: name them and mark them.
As politicians head into final pre-November sprint looking for achievable goals, the time to plan and ask for this type of change is now.
The street-naming project could take a team of three people a year to do. This project would cost just a fraction compared to the gigantean and prolonged urban investments that Bay Islands, and Roatan in particular, have seen over the last several years: street paving, building hundreds meters of walls, building and not using a sewerage treatment plant.
Numbering buildings on marked streets will inevitably raise productivity and morale. How can anyone function efficiently in a place where none of the businesses has an address? How many hours a year do you spend explaining where your house or office is located? How much business have you lost because a client gave up trying to find your office?
Named streets and numbered buildings would improve security as well. Laws are only as good as their enforcement and Preventiva officials could more efficiently police the islands that nave named and numbered streets.
Newly arrived police contingents have enough difficulty finding their way around the island, let alone looking for suspects without an accurate domicile address. As there is talk of Islands IDs, how can the police track someone down if his ID only says "Los Fuertes?"
Local pride would rise as the streets could be named after local historical personalities and landmarks: John Brooks Street, Polo Galindo Avenue, Sadie Ebanks Street, Stadium Road. The beauty of the project is that since a system of named streets has never existed, there is nothing that needs to be fixed.
Named streets would also contribute to raising the profile of Bay Islands as a "first world destination." The privilege of third world is that it can avoid confronting the reality almost indefinitely or, until it decides it can no longer afford to.

Tourist Officer Shot Dead in West End

As West End was getting ready for another busy Saturday night on June 4th, at 9:45 pm on the doorstep of First Baptist Church in West End, Ruben Nuñez, a 21-year-old Tourist Police officer was shot dead. The person who shot the police officer was Gary Fuertado, 52, a nationalized US citizen involved in a legal dispute over a Toyota Corolla he imported to Honduras in 2004.
According to Elia Lily Fuertado, 45, widow of Fuertado, he was coming back from a meeting regarding that matter when he was stopped by two tourist police officers in West End, but disregarded the road block and drove south to his residence. His wife was expecting him there.
"He was shot at twice. I saw one bullet [hole] in the [spare] back wheel of the car," said Elia Fuertado. "Gary didn't say a word. He went to his room, got a 12-gauge and a box of bullets." The police confirmed that they fired two shots at Gary Fuertado's car, but had no comment about the firing being a part of police procedure.
Fuertado traveled north in his 2005 Toyota RAV4 on the main street in West End towards two tourist police officers stationed by the Baptist Church.
According to the Roatan DGIC, Fuertado then rolled down his window and fired his shotgun, shooting officer Nuñez in the head. The other officer at the scene, officer Prado, 22, fired around a dozen shots at Mr. Fuertado. West End residents and tourists ran for cover.
Seconds later, the vehicle left the scene traveling slowly. Officer Prado called the Preventive police for assistance from his cell phone.

The Preventiva and DGIC police arrived in 20 minutes, but the body of the slain officer remained on the main road until 12:45am. "The police handled the situation badly. For hours people had to pass by the body and it upset many tourists," said Delcie Rosales, Roatan City council member and a West End resident.
Police followed with an all night land and sea man-hunt. The following morning, June 5, Fuertado's body and car were found in the ditch on the West Bay road.
The US embassy was contacted, and an autopsy on his body was performed in San Pedro Sula which was then returned to Roatan for burial. According to Elia Lily Fuertado the body had four bullet holes in it: lower abdomen, right torso, lower back and base of the skull. Autopsy results were not made available.
Since coming back to his place of birth in 1998, Fuertado ran a hotel business in West End. According to neighbors, several hotel guests complained of being threatened by Gary Fuertado with a firearm.
A reenactment of the shooting was conducted at the site on June 21st in the presence of a US embassy official. 13 bullet holes were located in the passenger door of the car, another one on the driver side and one more in the rear of the vehicle. Roatan's public prosecutor is investigating the case.
The murder of the police officer is first such event on Roatan in two decades. Both on Utila and in Oak Ridge a policeman was shot dead in 1980s. Two Roatan policemen died from an accidental shooting in 2004.

by Thomas Tomczyk

Thousands On Board
Roatan Festival Celebrates B.I. Shrimping Industry

They came by boat, car, some even walked… over 8,000 people attended the first Roatan International Shrimp Festival on June 19, the biggest one-day event in the history of the Bay Islands, and perhaps Honduras.
The festival, held at the beach at Parrot Tree, was an opportunity to celebrate the men and women working in the Bay Islands shrimp industry. The festival was timed to take advantage of Father's Day and the shrimp season break that will end on July 1.
Ronald Cummins, an American residing on Roatan, originally came up with the idea of the shrimp festival. Suyapa Edwards, a business owner from Parrot Tree, took the idea and within two months organized the one-day event, possibly the biggest of its kind in Honduras. After three years of organizing private and public events on Roatan, Edwards took on her biggest challenge to date. Even though the event was by paid admission, only the Saturday of the La Ceiba Carnival and the last day of the Ferias Junianas of San Pedro Sula, both open admission events, could compare in number of visitors to the Roatan Shrimp event.

The children's fashion show amongst hundreds of spectators.

"I never left my booth [to taste the competitors' food.], I was too busy," said Dian Lynn, owner of Dian's Garden of Eat'n and the festival winner of the "Best Quality" award. Dian's Garden of Eat'n prepared eight different plates, six of them shrimp plates, priced at Lps. 100 each. Lynn expected to sell out her food around 9:00pm, but at 6:30pm was already folding her cooking gear. "I was prepared to sell 300 plates. I sold 300 plates," said Lynn, who organized three Taste of Roatan festivals. Lynn felt that the Lps. 5,000 cooking booth fee was "a little expensive."

"Getting the money from sponsors was the easy part. The hardest thing was getting a good logo," said Edwards who commissioned the logo at Ideas, a Tegucigalpa graphic company. A giant red colored shrimp wearing a chef's hat, official logo of the festival, was visible on posters, sculptures, awards and tee-shirts for weeks prior to the event.
A six foot shrimp statue displayed at the festival main stage was carved out of three 4' by 8' sheets of fiber board over two weeks and donated by Gessell Brousek of Maple Leaf. "I had to explore marine themes in my artistic style to do this," said Brousek. The carving was meant to bring to life the official festival logo.
Photos of the shrimp industry on the Bay Islands were also displayed by the main stage. Looking at large photographs of veterans of Bay Islands shrimp industry and boat work was Rotha McNab, owner of French Harbour's Bormac's. "Shrimp is very hard work," said McNab, who spent a couple weeks working on a shrimp vessel.
As 11 bands entertained the visitors, the Parrot Tree lagoon was filled with kayaks, and children playing in the water. "I wasn't expecting so many people to come," said McNab. The beachfront venue filled with participants and sponsors while 34 volunteer policemen, working in two shifts, provided security at the event.
A trampoline, children's slide, 15 big and 5 small kiosks, 10 restaurants and 5 performance stages filled the Parrot Tree beachfront. "Parrot Tree is too small for this. We will probably have the event at Marbella Beach next year," said Edwards.
Artistic Stone of Tegucigalpa donated the stone sculptures given as awards to restaurant winners of shrimp recipes. Truman Jones of French Harbour was recognized for pioneering the shrimp industry in the Bay Islands.
When the event ended at midnight, over 8,000 ended-up buying tickets. 3,000 tickets were pre-sold at Lps. 100 and another 5,000 tickets were sold at the gate for Lps. 200.
The original cost of the event, estimated at $43,000 ended-up closer to $57,000. "We still have enough money to do a calendar and have money for next year," said Edwards. According to Edwards, Galaxy was a key sponsor of the event donating 52 return tickets to Roatan. Overall, 92 people were brought in as entertainers, media and organizers and stayed in hotel rooms donated by Fantasy Island, Executive Inn and Half Moon Bay Cabins.
The event brought national media attention to Roatan and brought an influx of visitors to Roatan in what typically is the slowest time of the Bay Islands tourist season. "Next year I will have six months to prepare. Just imagine how many people are going to come," said Edwards.

Evans on Evans
'Judas Bird' Author Speaks

Born in 1933 in Portsmouth, Virginia, Dr. Evans received his B.S. degree in Geology from Tulane University. He spent several years in the military and eventually started his graduate UC Berkley program at 28.
Dr. David K. Evans first came to Roatan in June of 1961. On his way to Nicaragua's Corn Islands, it was by chance that he landed on the Honduran coast and met Walter McNab, a young boat captain from French Harbour. "When I got off a mail boat in Coxen Hole there were no roads, no electric lights, no vehicles and no tourists," said Dr. Evans.
Dr. Evans was looking for a place to do his doctoral thesis in Anthropology and it was the village of French Harbour that caught his imagination. Evans spent several months in what was then a quiet fishing village conducting his research.
Dr. Evans received his doctorate in 1966 and joined the ranks of Wake Forrest University academics, where he taught for 32 years. For 14 years Dr. Evans studied nutrition and hypertension on Saba in the Dutch Antilles and researched these issues among the Roatan natives.
In 1967 he formed the Overseas Research Center, a program that brought hundreds of High School and University students from all around the US to do research and conduct studies not only on Roatan, but in Costa Rica, Norway and Scotland.
Even though retired, once a year Dr. Evans still brings a group of students to his Roatan research station in First Bight and plans to run the center at least for another three years. His possible replacement to run the program is a Wake Forrest University professor, Dr. Margaret Bender, an anthropologist specializing in linguistics and folklore. "Academically there have not been a lot of people here. A geographer [William Davidson] came here and wrote a book. Marine scientists and geologists came," said Dr. Evans.
In 2004 Dr. Evans published a first work of fiction related to Roatan: the almost 1,000 page historical novel "The Judas Bird." He is now working on another novel.

Bay Islands Voice: Is "The Judas Bird" your first novel?
Dr. David Evans: It's not my first book, but my first novel. Unfortunately has a lot of computer typos, but it is selling well and I am pleased. (…) I wanted to talk about some of the problems I saw on the island and not get personal. I wanted to start in the present, 1995, but I wanted to use a mechanism of flashing back to XVI and XVII century to work in the history of the island. The book I am working on now is called "Red at Dawn," and it takes place on the island between 1722 and 1725; mostly around Port Royal. The next book I am thinking about is from a perspective of the aboriginals at the time of meeting Columbus in 1502 and slavery times in the XVI and XVII centuries.
B.I.V.: So you are evolving from an academic and researcher into a novelist.

Dr. D.E.: I don't know if I want to call this an evolution. That's what I wanted to do when I got out of the Navy. I went to Europe to become a writer. But I met a young German girl and decided to go to graduate school. So I've gone thru 38 years of academic life before I had the time to really write.
B.I.V.: So you are catching-up, making-up for lost time.
Dr. D.E.: Yes, I'm catching up to something I didn't make time to really do.
B.I.V.: Should be a bigger effort at trying to preserve the history, culture of the island?
Dr. D.E.: That was one other reason for writing the book, too. I felt if I didn't get this down… well, I am not the youngest person in the world. What I would like to see is little museums in all these villages. They could be used as tourist attractions, but they also could be used for schools and reminding the kids where this all came from. (…) It's a cultural chasm, a cultural abyss. The younger people don't know anything but cars and televisions, they never thought about what their fathers did.
B.I.V.: How does the island evolution make you feel?
Dr. D.E.: I watched the island change and some of it is painful to watch. So it's been a mixed bag that way. (…) Some people, gringos that lived here for five years continually, feel that they know far more than I do. They do if they are talking about individual changes, but I am looking at a broader canvas. I've seen the changes occur and tried to record them. (…) I'm not an islander, but I am probably as close to being an islander as you can be.

B.I.V.: What are your greatest concerns with how the island is growing?
Dr. D.E.: I have the great-grand-son of one of my characters in the novel [The Judas Bird] reflect on this. Before you had your sisters land that could be passed through the family and now it is all being sold and stolen. (…) And many of the people that are doing the land robbing are islanders themselves and relatives that are getting land that should have not come to them in the first place. This was a problem in Key West, in many places. On islands there is only so much land. I also don't know where the islanders are going to live. AIDS is a big problem and maybe that will reduce the number of population. We are also going to have problems with water. The aquifers can only handle so much. (…) I've heard from too many very, very reliable people that a cruise ship [at Roatan harbor] was taking [local] water… something like 45,000 gallons at a time. Of course that's lowering the aquifer too fast and it will fill with brackish water and salt. And once it's ruined, it is ruined for all time.
B.I.V.: What do you think the islands will become like.
Dr. D.E.: There is a Greek saying: 'If you want to make gods laugh tell them your plans for the future.' I just can't imagine what this place will be like in 20 years. Surely it is going to be more Hispanicized then it is now. I won't be here to see it, that's all I know.
B.I.V.: Why were you attracted to this part of the Caribbean?
Dr. D.E.: I don't know. I spent a lot of time in the Navy in the South Pacific on a number of islands. But islands and mountains are where I've been drawn to all my life. I guess I've spent a lot of time thinking about a lot of things, haven't thought much about my own psyche. It's probably not possible to work out what draws me here. I like it. I often have to ask myself when I get really disgusted with everything, when nothing is working: 'Why I keep coming back." But, I do. I'm like the swallows, I suppose.
B.I.V.: Any regrets about something you wanted to do, but didn't.
Dr. D.E.: I always wanted to build on our property a functioning school to teach kids trades: plumbing, electrical work. Because when they go away to school they all go into hotel management. And there is a lot more to living than taking care of tourists. Maybe my daughter will do this.

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The Five Kings
Single Life

King Squad debuted on Stereo Mar's "Chulo Show" in 2003. Soon after, Big Chulo became the band's DJ and this year Adam Santos, rapper and song writer from Bronx, New York, joined the group.
The group's first album, "Roatan's Finest," was released in October 2004. The album's big hit, "Spanish Fly," received an all island following and helped to create the King Squad's fan base.
Now the five artists are working on their second album due out in September. They plan to re-release one song from the first album: "Remember the Name," that the group believes needs more exposure.
There is energy and originality in the band's lyrics that deal with the reality of island life. Freestyle rapping, using your creativity by rapping whatever that comes into the head, is a specialty of Baby C's. In fact every member of the band brings some unique element to the band. With keyboards creating base the King Squad produces its original Hip Hop and R&B sound.
"We want to be the first international artists out of Roatan," said Levey. The group is on its way to just that. King Squad has its first Honduran tour set-up for July and August. They plan on playing in clubs in San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and La Ceiba.
The group is aware of its weak points and works on improving them. "Our production needs a little perfecting. We make sure we stay consistent," said Levey.

second verse
until the end of the world it's the same old song
why we never know what we got until it's gone
why we wait tell our love once die to see it's wrong
why the never show you love because you a thug
same thing that a saw when my boy got shot
family that never spoke crying over his box
when you die why the act like the love you a lot
shedding tears on your coffin talking bout how the want to
hug you and kiss you
now that you talking bout how the miss you
it makes you wonder why life's so rough
why the things that happen is so mess up
only thing a could do is just bust my rhyme and pray to god
that a never have to buss my nine
i write songs about life so i could release my mind
i am stress out thinking bout probably what's the best route
its hard living life when it's so much drama so much pain
loses aint much to gain when you looking for the sun and all
you find is the rain
it makes me want to scream out at the top of my lungs
take i look at our life look at what we become

so many mothers crying so many people dying
it really makes me wonder what's the use in trying
keeping up with this life and struggle
cause life is a painful hustle
every bodies asking questions
no body has the answer.

The King Squad: Baby C (Clint Arnold Forbes)- freestyle wrapper, Versatile (Adam Santos) -rapper and song writer, Big Chulo (Royce Anderson)- DJ, Krazy Legz (Elroy Levey)- singer and producer, Six One (Leonard Edward)- rapping and singing.

Read past issues of
Bay Islands VOICE

No. 4
May 8

Vol2 No. 2

Vol2 No. 3


Vol3 No. 6

Vol3 No. 7