Monthly news magazine for Roatan,
Utila & Guanaja
August, 2005 Vol.3 No. 8
 
Calendar Style
Bay Islands Voice Updates:
feature story / editorial / local news / business

Words and Photos by Thomas Tomczyk

Utila seems to attract eccentric characters from everywhere. Visionaries, artists and characters have looked to Utila as an escape to make their impact on the world. Some of them succeeded, many failed, but all left a mark.

One of the most fascinating sights on Utila is a semi-deserted group of structures overlooking Sandy Bay from between giant oak trees. It is just a shadow of the fruits of the labor of dozens of people who have tried and failed to create the premiere hotel of the Caribbean. What remains is a folly, still dominating enough to make anyone wonder about its original visionary: Bradford Duncan.
Welcome to Duncan's folly. The seven-building compound was planned so that the to-be Crown Colony Hotel would be independent for power, water and sewage disposal. There was a power generator building, with a 60-foot concrete shaft well. The shaft is so deep that Kurt Halverston, an American businessman coordinating the clean-up and management of the site, had to use a scuba tank to clean the bottom. A three bedroom apartment now sits on top of the power plant.
"With foot-thick concrete walls it feels like a World War II bunker," said Halverston. The walls are not only made of extremely strong concrete mix they are reinforced with half inch steel rebar. "He [Duncan] said he didn't mix cement. he made concrete," said Richard Del Olmo, Duncan's stepson.
The compound has independent septic, electric and water systems. According to Del Olmo, the eight round septic wells set in a curve on the site were filled with stones, gravel and sand to filter black water before it was released into the ocean. "He [Duncan] was very concerned about the environment. He would tell us not to hunt lobster. To pick-up garbage," said Del Olmo.
The taller, five-story building was later partially finished by Spurgen Bush,
Each story was subdivided into two apartments, with unique floor plans, shower and baths, overlooking the site.
The structures were wired for telephone and computers, quite ahead of its time for 1970 and 1980s way of thinking. The plumbing was run inside the concrete walls and according to Halverston, because of decades of abandonment, it cannot be used.
A reception building sits in the lower part of the site. An elevator would bring guests from the street level.
Now only the upper part of the elevator shaft is visible. The eight foot square shaft has been filled with debris over time and no one seems to know where the ornate, gilded elevator cage has disappeared to.
With all the complexity of design there are no existing drawings of how the entire hotel complex was envisioned. "The [working drawings] don't exist. They were all in his [Duncan's] head," said Halverston.

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Bradford Duncan in front of his modest home in Jutiapa, Atlántida

Born on February 9 in Tuscon, Arizona in 1915, Bradford Duncan spent World War II as an aircraft technician on the US mainland. He received his BS in Structural Engineering, managed construction of a 40 story building in Mexico City and traveled all over the world.
Duncan was an assistant to Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin, Arizona. He carried the architect's briefcase and ran his errands. "He was the most exciting employment," said Duncan. There are some similarities between the two personalities. Both had gray hair, a boyish enthusiasm and determination to follow their dreams. In a way, the young Arizonan inherited more than just the experience from the legendary American architect, he inherited the youthful attitude of the relentless pursuit of his dreams, and settling for little less then perfection.
Following a pattern of knowing famous personalities, in 1950s Duncan came in contact with Michael Rockefeller, a philanthropist and adventurer who disappeared in Papua New Guinea in 1961. "We enjoyed each other because we were 'brains'," Duncan said about Rockefeller. "I was knee deep in relationship with him." In fact Duncan helped with the search for the millionaire explorer.
Duncan built and run "Gambola Cay," a large restaurant in Galveston, Texas. After hearing a customer mention Utila in a story, he traveled to the island in 1975. A year later Duncan sold the restaurant, moved his entire family and settled on the island. Every Christmas and summer his children would visit their father as he pursued a dream of building a five-star hotel of the future.
According to Kelsey Cooper, an old-time Utila native, there were only a handful of foreigners living on Utila back then. There was a Russian, an Englishman (AKA Lemon), Uncle Oak from the States, and Austrian Gunter Kordovsky who still calls Utila his home.
For a number of years, Duncan was the biggest employer on the island. "Everything was run according to the budget. Even a pack of matches would be entered in the books," said Del Olmo. For two years, he hired two sculptors, Dimitrio and Cezar, from Trujillo to create 52 doors and wood columns that were to support an outdoor restaurant. Many of these columns now rest scattered across the island. Some just rotted away.
"He saw himself like King Solomon living in the trees," said Del Olmo. His business cards a described his position as "Governing Overlord of Utila." Duncan created a larger than life persona that radiated thought the entire community. At the same time he remained approachable and down-to-earth.
Still, with all his bravado and larger than life personality Duncan never hesitated to work hands-on on his projects. "He would mash his finger up with a hammer two-three times and still be working," said Richard Del Olmo. He was humble enough to sweep the city's streets and give an example to his neighbors. "He fell from a scaffolding once. I thought he was dead, but he just got up went home for a while and came back the next day with a blue back," Kelsey Cooper. In short, Bradford Duncan was a truly original character.
Visiting Utila in 1990 a traveler describes meeting Duncan: "a distinguished looking old gentleman dressed in shabby, white pants, colorful shirt and a wide brimmed straw hat. It turned out that he had been a very successful architect in New Orleans, had visited Utila [and] fell in love with the island. (.) Duncan, is now obviously broke, but is happily remarried to a very young local Caribbean woman, has three children under the age of 10 - and best of all, is still able to laugh at his misfortune!"
Duncan came to the island with several million dollars in lifetime savings and no one knows exactly how much he put into Utila over the years. "I am a victim of trust," Duncan describes himself. Many people do say he was too generous, too trusting for his own good. The project lasted years, went over budget and seemed incomprehensible to many locals. "If you don't finish a project on time, no wonder some partners will pull-out," said Lynn Duncan.

 

In 1985 Duncan was a victim in a bus accident in La Ceiba that almost cost him his life. He never quite recovered from the trauma. By the early 1990s Duncan felt too pained to continue living on Utila. He met Gertrudis Cardona, who worked at "Hotel Gran Paris" in La Ceiba and a few years later, in 1992, they were married. His wife, whom he affectionately calls Tulita, is now all he has. "Who would take care of me if it wasn't for Tulita," says Duncan.
Three decades after coming to Honduras Duncan is no longer as stately as he once was. Life and circumstances have caught up with Duncan. He has difficulty standing up and shuffles his feet as he moves to the bench in front of the front door. Duncan has no regrets about coming to Utila and Honduras. "I extended my life 10 years. I had no pressure, no tax collector knocking on my door," said Duncan.
He periodically travels to the US for medical reasons and sometimes visits his stepson and a few friends on Utila. Life is difficult as Duncan lives off a social security check forwarded every month by his daughter Lynn.

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One of the hotel buildings now serves as quarters for watch staff

He is sometimes hard to understand, his mind falls in and out of reality and the present. An occasional wink from his pale blue eyes brings an image of a charismatic, extravagant character immediately back to life. Tears form in his eyes as he speaks of his three sons serving in the US military. Two serve in the US Marines and one in the US Navy. His daughter from the previous marriage, Lynn, lives in Houston and his son in New Jersey.
The hotel wasn't the only project Duncan involved himself on Utila. He built a three story concrete ENE power plant building. It now stands empty and abandoned yet is an example of strong solid concrete construction. Duncan's other work includes the construction of the brick community clinic building, the foundations of Captain Roy's Hotel, Sandy Bay street gutters, the foundations of the Methodist College and he was responsible for leveling-off the old airport runway.
The divorce proceedings between Duncan and his third wife, Utilan Rachel Esperanza Moreno, caused him much trauma and anxiety. "All the turbulence in his life made him take chaotic and rushed steps," said Del Olmo. Duncan lost his house to his wife and many of his possessions ended up scattered in homes across the entire island. Several people around Utila have the wood carvings, tiles, stained glass windows, mahogany wall panels, rugs, paintings, old bottles, stamp collections, photographs, documents. Duncan's collection of Utila artifacts has also disappeared.
Most of his artifacts seem to have ended up in possession of Spurgen Bush, Duncan's ex-business partner and one time Utila mayor. "They just took everything he had. They used the law to leave him on the side of the road," said Del Olmo.
Things got even more complicated when in 1995 Spurgen Bush died and decided to be buried outside of Utila's only public cemetery. on the old Duncan property. The locals have two explanations for this action: Spurgen felt even after death he will claim the property, or that after a "life of sin" he didn't feel worthy laying inside the cemetery.
According to Halverston, in 1985 Jim Crockett (AKA Jim Money) bought the 7.8 acre property for "pennies on the dollar." Spurgen Bush became the general manager of the property. Bush supervised some work on the property, including framing wood floors in the five story hotel building.
By 1993 the hotel building filled with people, some of them paying symbolic rent to Spurgen Bush, others just squatters. One of the renters, paying $50 a month, was Ted Danger, a long time Utila resident. "I was the one who installed the electricity in the building," said Danger. "We were living like kings," remembers Danger, who in the early 1990s ran a pirate radio station from the building's rooftop. K-BUD 107.0 FM broadcasted a 100 Watt signal as far as La Ceiba.
Even after Hurricane Mitch brought down some huge trees, the site is dominated by 120' oaks and 100' royal palm trees. A 10' long, iron Spanish galleon anchor, supposedly found off Utila's Blackish point, sits resting against a tree. "It was like a jungle out here," says Kurt Halverston who first looked at the site in 1995.
For over a decade the site lay abandoned. "Families used to come here to make BBQs and play," said Ernest Rubi, 13, who lives not far from Duncan's folly. Ernest remembers playing cowboys and Indians on the site, which some Utilans grew to consider "haunted."
"It took me over a year to remove all the squatters out of a building," said Halverston. According to Halverson the property is owned by a corporation "Desarrollos de Utila," a partnership between him, an American foreign investor and another long time foreign Honduran resident. Halverston says that the site, incorporating the existing design, will be developed into townhouses and condos.
Some people posses the unique ability of reinventing themselves wherever they go and no matter what they do. Duncan's vision of reinventing himself and reinventing Utila was both ahead of its time and a work of sheer determination.
Caribe Crown Colony, a five star hotel, was a vision from the future. "My father had a vision. He was ahead of his times. He would tell everyone, 'Tourism is coming! Tourism is Coming!' but nobody was listening," said Del Olmo.
Working with concrete and imported California Redwood lumber and mahogany Duncan wanted to create a marvel, a jewel that would awe visitors and locals alike. He has failed at creating his vision, but he leaves an example for all of us of how to live a life without compromises.
Goethe once said "What counts is not what you leave behind, but how you inspire others through the life you led." Duncan is a perfect example of that. For Utilans, he left a foundation of an ambitious project, for many others he is setting an example of an uncompromising life of vision and passion for doing, creating.

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One of the original carvings damaged by time and insects
feature story / editorial / local news / business ______________back to top
Jihad This by Thomas Tomczyk

Islamic terrorist attacks have been taking place for 1,400 years, only the methods have changed. The carnage of the recent bombings in London and Egypt and Baghdad brought a few reflections of the phrases we have been hearing and leaving unchallenged. Well, let me do the controversial job of analyzing the code phrases.

"Islam is a religion of peace."
Few seem to ever challenge the notion even though we are surrounded by events and facts to the contrary. The statement is wishful thinking and does not reflect the reality. If it was true then Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Zaorastians, Sikhs, Christians and Mormons would be blowing themselves up on busses every day. Certainly they aren't claiming to be a part of "religion of peace." A fox in a hen house can claim he is a hen all night long. Only the foolish hen will accept his attempts. The reality is that Islam isn't a peaceful religion and never was. It is a religion that at its core has the goal of seeing the whole world become Muslim. by whatever means possible. That notion is much more radical than what Christianity, Buddhism or Zoroastrianism have produced.

Still, the majority of Muslims are "good people."
As far as I know probably Osama Bin Laden is a good person. He is a caring father to his 34 children and responsible husband to his four wives, generous to the needy and destitute. The thing is, it is not relevant how good, or bad he is, or how bad the "majority of muslims are." Osama Bin Laden is a leader of an Islamic movement fighting non-Islamic societies and values. He follows in the footsteps of Sudan's Mahdi, Tamerlain and Turkey's Ataturk. Most wars are conducted by small portion of a society, yet the armies depend on the continual support of the society as the whole. So is the current Jihad. Most Muslims never condemned the events of 9/11 and many applauded the defeat of the "great Satan nation." Most are in denial about Muslim responsibility for any atrocities. They see Osama Bin Laden and Dr. Khan, the mastermind behind the Pakistani atomic bomb, as heroes.

The terrorists are "Islamic fundamentalists" and not "true Muslims."
It is not just semantics. The terrorists or jihadists reflect the core values of the expanding Islam and are not concerned about displaying them. "Fundamentalism" isn't a bad word. It is only a reflection of fact and the fact is Islam is a fundamentalist religion. In fact most Muslims are fundamentalist in their practices and beliefs. Muhammad was a fundamentalist, as was Jesus, or Zarahustra. And how can you deny Mohammad the title of a "true Muslim?"

"Islamic terrorism rises from poverty and ignorance."
One has little to do with the other; the connection is irrelevant. Most terrorists of the XX and XXI centuries are well educated and sometime sophisticated individuals. Sometimes the Palestinians terrorist bombers will use the mentally handicapped, brainwashed or destitute, but that is the exception. Most terrorists are highly motivated, well educated and sophisticated individuals. Wealth of Islamic terrorists, as in the case of Osama Bin Laden, doesn't make them rational and secular, but only allows them to achieve greater destruction.

"It's all our fault. Muslims are just reacting to the unfair treatment by the West."
Christians seem to be shrouded in apologist sentiment. They are apologizing for Crusades, bombing of Kosovo, apathy about Chechnya, flushing of Koran down the toilet, everything. Muslims apologize for nothing. Everyone heard of people converting to Islam: Cassius Clay, Cat Stevens, Karim Adbul Jabbar. Did you ever heard of a Muslim converting to Christianity or Buddism, or anything?

"The Muslim struggle reflects their disapproval of Western values."
The fact is Muslims aren't happy with anyone else's values, no matter if it they are western, Hindu, Buddhist, or atheist. Westerners seem to be extremely egocentric. It is all about them. Well, it is not. For 1,400 years Islam has been fighting, converting and terrorizing people of all kinds of religions and civilizations. In fact the majority of conflicts today are between Islam and non-western cultures. There are major Muslim terrorist activities in Thailand, China, India, Philippines, Indonesia, Sudan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Chechnya, Georgia, Israel, and so on.

"People who forget history deserve whatever awaits them."
This is not a myth. The recent conflict hasn't grown out of nothing. It is a continuation of a 1,400 year-long struggle of the world of Islam to make Islam the universal religion. The Islamic conflict is as old as Islam itself. London, Madrid and New York have followed in the footsteps of cities like Constantinople, Barcelona and Athens. Even United States has faced Islamic conflict in piracy targeting non-Muslim merchant ships in the Mediterranean and Atlantic. All that maybe long forgotten but not lost.

Tattoo Begone

Adios Tatuajes, a non-profit organization started in San Pedro, has begun to offer tattoo removal services on Roatan. The organization offers a second chance at life for people who want to leave the gang life behind.
Mirna Banegas, 29, is coordinator of Adios Tatuajes in La Ceiba's San Isidro parish. In four years of working for the organization in La Ceiba she has helped 250 people; around 220 of them were involved in gangs at one point in their life. 12 of the patients came from Roatan, and Banegas saw the growing demand for the treatment on the island: Adios Tatuajes is now coming once a month to Coxen Hole Catholic Church. On July 2, Banegas had appointment with 10 new Roatan patients, two of them involved at some time with gangs.
The atmosphere is relaxed, but the new patients are apprehensive. "Go after him. He might not come back after seeing the procedure," said deacon Freddy Ventura, a Claritin novice from Coxen Hole's church, who coordinates the visit.
The tattoo removal process using infrared light takes 3-4 treatments that could take as long as four months. As antiseptics are used the process isn't painful, but requires following strict hygienic procedures by the patient. This procedure offers minimal scarring and is relatively inexpensive.
Adios Tatuajes started in 2000 in Chamelecon district of San Pedro Sula by the Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers, a non-profit missionary society. Now the organization has offices in Tegucigalpa and La Ceiba. It also opened clinics across Central America: in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and is starting a program in Panama.
Since its inception Adios Tatuajes treated 19,000 persons in Honduras, 4,000 in Guatemala, 2,500 in El Salvador and in Nicaragua more than 2,000 youths have been treated. There aren't sufficient machines to meet the demand.
The work is done on volunteer basis and the cost of medications and machines is donated by local hospitals, church and private donations. The patients are asked to pay a symbolic fee of Lps. 30 per tattoo removed. The one condition of tattoo removal treatment is that the ex-gang members have left the gangs for at least a year and are attending church regularly. "We never had any problems with the gangs. Probably because we don't force anyone to have a tattoo removed," said Benegas.
Ex-gang members have problems finding work and most often spend that time supported by their family. "They [gangs] will accept a member leaving them if he or she will stop drinking, start going to church, but it all depends on the chief of the gang," said Banegas.
This is not an easy task as in Honduras, people with tattoos are typically suspected of involvement with gangs. They have difficulty finding work as a medical exam, required at most places of work, will reveal the tattoo and cause suspicion from the employer. Another issue of having potentially gang-related tattoos is harassment by the police.

PHOTO: anesthetic is placed under the patient's skin to before infra red ray treatment can begin.

According to Banegas, since the introduction of anti-gang laws in Honduras many new gang recruits no longer tattoo themselves to stay less conspicuous with law enforcement. "Not all the crimes committed are by the gangs. It is easy to blame them," said Banegas. Even when they leave the gangs, young men with tattoos remain targets for other gang members and shadowy "social cleansing" squads - which, according to a 2002 United Nations report, often include Honduran police officers.
Two decades ago, gangs were rare in Central America. But in the mid-1990s, the United States stepped up deportations of criminals. Honduran citizens are shipped home under an immigration policy that Central American governments insist has helped spread the deadly gang culture throughout the Americas.
Today, gangs are Central America's number one crime problem. More than 35,000 youths are members of gangs in Honduras; El Salvador has approximately 30,000 gang members and Guatemala has 14,000.
The two major gangs, or pandillas, active in Central America are the MS (Mara Salvatrucha) and 18 (from the 18th street in Los Angeles). According to Banegas, many of the gang members have parents working in the US and were left to the care of other family members. Gangs become a place where young people can count on emotional, physical and financial support from the group.
Juan Gonzales (assumed name at request of interviewee), 27, came to Roatan six months ago from Santa Barbara. From the age of 13 until 25 he was involved with members of Pandilla 18, but he claims not to be a member. One of these friends made two tattoos on both arms that Gonzales wants to now remove. "It's difficult to get a job with tattoos," said Gonzales, who currently works for the Roatan Municipal.
According to Banegas a few ex-gang members trying to stay out of the gang influence look at Roatan as a place relatively free from the pressures of some of the gang leaders. The number of ex-gang members is small, but growing. "I've seen six people on Roatan that were, or are belonging to gangs," said Gonzales who lives in the El Swampo area of Coxen Hole.

by Thomas Tomczyk

My Cove? Your Cove? No, It's Dixon Cove?
A twenty-year-old land dispute in Dixon Cove creates havoc for a local family and property owners

Who has become the owner of this 27 acre property since 1985 depends on who you ask. The registry of property shows Dulce Maria Duarte as owner and Municipal's catastro has Melva Orfilia Allen. But the paper trail has many twists and turns and there is a disagreement about the property delineation and right-of-way.
In 1994 Melva Orfilia Allen tried, but failed to evict the Aceitunos, who claim to have lived there since 1986, from the property. Soon after Allen sold the property to her son Clinton Everett, current Bay Islands' governor. After years of going through legal channels to regain control of the property Everett finally gave up and decided to sell. "It was a way of getting rid of a headache and the buyer (Bob Waring) knew the problems," said Everrett.
Even though Everett has sold his rights to the property, he wasn't able to get rid of a headache. His name is mentioned often in the current dispute. "It's a political year and it easy to get sympathy about being mistreated by a governor," said Everett.
"This could have happened to anybody. I have a little more land than most people so the odds weren't in my favor," said Waring, owner of Roatan Properties, a Roatan real estate company. Well, not exactly. Waring was aware of the ongoing problems with the land and decided to purchase it anyway.

"No one from there does anything bad. The people are peaceful," said Freddie Torres, 36, a security guard from Los Fuertes who along with Marco Del Cid, 32, and two other guards who were contracted by Waring to guard the property for over two weeks. The Aceituno family was given access to the property to use bathrooms and gather plantains.

Waring made a calculated bet that where Melva Orfilia Allen failed, he would succeed. After being in the Roatan real estate business for many years, he had the capacity and experience to handle such crisis. After purchasing the property in August 2004, Waring waited till June 2005 to take action.
The current stand-off began on June 30 when at 10:30am three Preventiva police, three lawyers representing Waring and several moving helpers entered the property executing an eviction order. Within a few hours the family was camped with all their possessions on the side of the road in Dixon Cove. Soon the site swelled with the arrival of family, friends and the curious.
According to Rita Aceituno, a forty-nine-year-old homemaker living and maintaining the property for at least 14 years, a written contract was made with Dulce Maria Duarte to maintain the property. Aceituno has no copy of the agreement, but says that for five years she was paid Lps. 3,000 a month to manage the property and support herself.
Dulce Maria Duarte's ownership is being disputed by some, but in 2004 the case complicated itself further as Edward Allan, a person who in 1985 acquired the original document about purchasing the 27 acre property, died.

Over the years the family grew and along with her common-law husband Mercedes Del Cid, 52, there are now 12 people living on the property. Working with wood and scrap materials the family built two houses in a small valley off the main road in Dixon Cove, only 50 meters from the sea. A year ago Del Cid started a plantain plantation on the property and Aceituno began selling souvenirs to tourists on the side of the road.
So far one break for the family came from Hurricane Emily on July 16. The family pleaded with two security guards guarding access to the property north of the road, and by claiming that their property could be destroyed during the hurricane gained access to the property. Hurricane Emily passed 200 miles to the north and Aceituno family gained access to their house.
A month after the stand-off began the family is dependent on the help of friends for buying food and covering travel and legal expenses. "She's lucky she has the support of patronatos and churches," said Cristobal Leiba, a family friend and vice president of the patronato Mount Pleasant. With bags under her eyes, Aceituno is visibly stressed by the situation.
The family continues to live in stress and fear of eviction and violence. "We saw Waring stop his car, lower the window and point his hand shaped like a gun at me," said Aceituno. The incident on July 24 was confirmed by several other witnesses. Waring, on the other hand, denied making any such gestures. "If anybody should be afraid it should be me. There are sometime 100 people out there," said Waring whose home and office are within 200 meters of the disputed site.
The situation has affected other family members as well. Two of Aceituno's sons left their jobs to stay with the family and her three-month-old granddaughter has been hospitalized, according to Aceituno due to dust and stressful conditions of living on the side of the road.
"We take turns in staying with the family, in case someone comes to harm them," said Leiba. There are always at least 10 and as many as 100 people who stay around the property. Some of them just sit and watch, others talk to the family and help with their chores. They have different motivation, agendas and sometime little relationship, or knowledge of the Aceitunos.
The family contracted a local lawyer and filed a denouncement with the human rights office in Tegucigalpa. On July 22, following a visit and threats of eviction from a Preventiva Police official, around 50-100 supporters of the Aceituno family staged a protest in front of Roatan Municipal and Municipal Courts. The family was left on the property.
According to Aceituno she was offered $4,000 by Bob Waring to move from the property. She refused. Aceituno said that she is not interested in receiving any compensation in exchange for leaving the property. She said that she wants to determine the rightful owner of the property and her due "prestaciones," or other entitlements. "Only a person who lives peacefully on a property for 20 years has a right to file for its ownership," said Barrios.
Even though Waring said he did offer financial compensation to Aceitunos several times and even purchased a lot for them, he is torn about the decision. "I'm afraid it will set precedence that if someone invades someone else's property, they will feel obliged to pay them off," said Waring.
Still, the pay-off offer, assisted by a committee formed at a CANATURH-BI meeting on July 18, has risen to $15,000. Aceituno, for now at least, has refused to accept a cashier's check paid by Waring. Things might still change further when on August 8 a human rights delegation from Tegucigalpa is scheduled to arrive on Roatan to assess the matter.
Conflicts over land are fact of making a living on the Bay Islands and Roatan. "There is a great deal of conflict over land on Roatan. There are people who take advantage of lawyers who are not exactly ethical," said Carlos Barrios, lawyer and assessor of municipal justice on Roatan. "There is a practice of bringing in a sworn declaration about the ownership of a given property on base of which catastro ownership is changed."
Barrios said that the only way to limit the land dispute problems is to link catastro and registry of properties and investigate thoroughly each case of sworn ownership declaration brought in to the municipal.

by Thomas Tomczyk

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Lotto Ladies by Jaime Johnston
Magda Garcia has been in the lotto business for 20 years. She is one of the many men and women around the islands who sell numbers for a living. These lotteries operate on a local level and are not sanctioned by the government as per Honduran law. Even so, business is booming on Roatan as sellers sit with their hand-written notebooks on Coxen Hole streets surrounded by buyers hoping to hit it big. "I've played the same number as long as I've known myself," said Marie Ebanks, 41, of Coxen Hole. Ebanks plays number 64 for her birth year. She claims to win at least Lps. 5,000 yearly and guesses she invests about Lps. 60 each week into her lotto hopes. Her investment alone totals over Lps. 3,000. Like most players, Ebanks enjoys the suspense of buying lotto.
"I have some people who buy the same number every week. Some people switch it up because of a dream or on superstitions, but they all seem to want to play," said Garcia, a Sandy Bay resident. When she began selling lotto, Garcia's jackpot totaled just over Lps. 10,000. Now, after two decades of fine-tuning her business, she boasts a jackpot of Lps. 154,000 each week. The lotteries sell numbers from 1-100. For each number, there is a maximum amount of pieces or shares sold. Each lottery operator sets their own maximum as their finances allow. Garcia sells 7,000 pieces per number, with a 50-piece purchase minimum. According to Garcia, this is one of the largest lotteries on Roatan. Some operators sell only 500 pieces per number. The seller can sell different share amount of numbers to different buyers. For example, if one purchases 50 pieces of winning number 20, they would win Lps. 1,100. If they held all 7,000 pieces, they would win Garcia's jackpot. Currently, 50 pieces sell for Lps. 15.
An average of twice per year, Garcia increases her piece maximum by 500, as long as sales continue to cover her payouts. "I'm taking a chance selling and you're taking a chance buying. I have to make sure I cover myself or someone's winnings will come out of my pocket," said Garcia who recently paid out Lps. 132,000 to a winner on Mother's Day.
Roatan's weekly lotteries use the national "chica" lottery drawing number as their winning number. The busiest times are on Saturdays, the day before the weekly drawings. The drawing is broadcast on local cable at noon on Sundays. Some lottery sellers canvass neighborhoods door-to-door and some sit on a corner and wait for business.
Elicia Bodden of Coxen Hole has been in the lotto business for eight years. It is her first business and she is often found talking to customers on the city's Main Street.

There are many lotteries from which to choose. Several operators sell tickets for daily drawings, using the Belize daily lottery's winning number. The Honduran government manages three lotteries: daily, weekly and monthly. The national lotteries are drawn in Tegucigalpa and licensed by the government. The Loteria Menor de Honduras is the weekly drawing based on one number from 1-100. The jackpot is Lps. 1,000. There is a secondary series of numbers on the Loteria Menor ticket. If a ticket winner holds both the winning number and the winning series, then they would win Lps. 50,000. Tickets for the Menor lottery, known as the chica, sell for Lps. 20. The Loteria Nacional de Honduras is drawn monthly with a six-digit winning number. The jackpot varies each month. For May, it stood at Lps. 4,000,000. Angus Watler has operated a vendor stand outside of H.B. Warren's for the last 25 years. His stand is one of two places to buy national lottery tickets in Coxen Hole. "We get a lot of people buying from the national lottery, mostly people from the mainland who live here now. Sometimes we run out of tickets," said Watler.

 

 

New Arsenal Coach Seeks Island Talent by Thomas Tomczyk

Jose Gabriel Sanchez, 47, is Arsenal's new coach. In mid-June, Sanchez took over from Jose Tejeda, who coached the French Cay team for eight months and continues his career with La Ceiba's Vida Victoria.
Sanchez spent the last five years as assistant coach and coach of Real Sociedad of Tocoa. Last year he took his team to division championship before being eliminated in the second phase of the qualifying tournament. "The Real Sociedad board of directors wasn't interested in advancing to first division," said Sanchez.
Before his time at Real Sociedad ,Sanchez worked as a technician at Union Arenese of Tocoa and a high school football coach in the US.
"I'm looking for tall, physical players," said Sanchez who has currently 24 players on his Arsenal roster. The team has four players that are from the coast, and ten come from island league teams. "Maybe five new players will make it to the Arsenal base squad," said Coach Sanchez. According to the Arsenal coach, the team plans to have an all-island squad in two seasons. "They have strength, stature, speed, but they lack technical aspects," said coach Sanchez about prospective island players.
"No one knows how much talent we have on the island. What they need the most is motivation," said the Arsenal coach. According to Sanchez the team's best new find is an 17-year-old ex-Bahia player "Chanen." "He is 195 cm tall and has good control of the ball. He can only get better," said Sanchez about "Chanen".

The Arsenal coach sees a connection with national football strategy and local talent availability. "We need pilot centers so that we can teach players discipline they need in the second division," said Sanchez.
Sanchez has already begun to establish a rapport with his Roatan players. "He knows how to treat a player well. He knows how to talk to you and understands when you have a problem," said Rigoberto Hernandez, a defenseman playing for one season with Arsenal. For economical reasons Hernandez plans to leave Arsenal for Real Sociedad of Tocoa.
Arsenal will play its first game of the season in late August.

Coach Sanchez

Read past issues of
Bay Islands VOICE

No. 4
May 8
2003

Vol2 No. 2
Jan.29
2004

Vol2 No. 3
Feb.12
2004