|feature story / editorial / local
/ 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
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
"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.
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
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
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.
|Bradford Duncan in front of his modest home in
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.
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
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.
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.
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
the hotel buildings now serves as quarters for watch
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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,
the original carvings damaged by time and
|feature story /
______________back to top|
|Jihad This by Thomas
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
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
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
"Islamic terrorism rises from poverty and
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
"It's all our fault. Muslims
are just reacting to the unfair treatment by the
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
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
who forget history deserve whatever awaits them."
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.
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
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.
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 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
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
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
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.
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
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.
My Cove? Your Cove? No, It's Dixon
A twenty-year-old land dispute in
Dixon Cove creates havoc for a local family and property
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
/ editorial /
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,"
New Arsenal Coach Seeks Island Talent by Thomas
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
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
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.