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The ZOLITUR Effect by Thomas Tomczyk

Is the Status of Bay Islands as a Special Tourist Zone Likely to Change Things? Time Will Tell

While many contemplate whether ZOLITUR (Free Tourist Zone of Bay Islands) will attract a further boom in business coming to the archipelago, the pressing question is whether Bay Island's reefs, forests and water tables will survive the boom already underway. While many business people and ZOLITUR officials are focusing on the duty free aspect of the Tourist Zone, the security and environmental aspects of this legislature may actually prove to be the most crucial determinant to the Bay Island's future.
The tax-free status of Bay Islands was hailed by local politicians as the way to attract investment, bring in more tourists and improve security. The ZOLITUR law was signed on December 13, 2005 and officially began functioning a year later.
ZOLITUR, conceived by congressman Jerry Hynds at the time when he was still a Mayor of Roatan (1998-2006), is a compromise between Bay Islands politicians and mainland congressmen who required that the tax-free benefits be given only to Bay Island businesses instead of to the islanders. The idea of making Bay Islands into an entity that would control its own taxes and security needed a compromise of both the Liberal and National parties. Compromise was reached and both parties supported a common vision of developing a system of laws that would allow for a more autonomous, self-regulating Bay Islands.
According to Nicole Brady, a ZOLITUR sub-director, the idea was conceived four-five years ago. Initially the concept was to simply pass tax benefits to all Bay Islands residents; yet with the mainland congressmen not looking to lose out, a compromise was reached: tax benefits for Bay Islands registered companies. "We need to insure that the tourist will keep on coming here and investors will keep investing," said Brady. "This is the closest to independence we are going to get."
ZOLITUR offices are located in a nondescript building in French Harbour, next to a furniture store. Just from the number of Toyota Prados, Hummers and Escalades parked in front, you know it's an important place, arguably the most important office in the Bay Islands.
For many, ZOLITUR has become a bureaucratic machine worthy of a Kafka novel. Behind a dozen doors a dozen bureaucrats sift through piles of papers, staple Xerox copies and answer calls. An open, empty hall with patiently awaiting petitioners. "All bureaucratic structures' primary goal is justification of itself," goes a saying. It is ironic that with all the documentation and preoccupation with law and legal detail, ZOLITUR rents a space in a building which never received a building permit. It shouldn't even be there.
ZOLITUR applicants have been struggling with a seemingly endless list of prerequisites and unprepared customs officials. "ZOLITUR has a public relations problem," said Dan Laylands, an American business owner on Roatan.
ZOLITUR officials see obstacles in different places. "The most difficult part of this project has been money, but we are getting over the hump now," says Glen Solomon. According to Solomon, a loan from Congressman Jerry Hynds and eventually a loan from the Central Government funded the upstart of the ZOLITUR offices. "We're still paying them back," says Solomon.
Until mid May ZOLITUR collected Lps. 5 million in fees and payments. It took until July for the first quarter installment to arrive from the central government, a four month delay. "There was a glitch in the code," explained Cynthia about the delay. Solomon says that the bulk of the money has come from the capital gains fees, but over time more will be generated from the visitor environmental tariff of $1 from domestic visitors, $2 from cruise ship visitors and $6 from international flight arrivals.
"Galaxy and Utila [Princess] have been cooperating. We haven't received cooperation from the airport, but we will see about that," said Congressman Hynds in April about the $1 and $6 impact fees charged to all visitors arriving via water and air in the archipelago. In August InterAirports was still not collecting the fees. Since February InterAirports could have collected $180,000 from international passengers arriving in the Bay Islands and a further $50,000 from domestic passengers. That's $230,000 that didn't make it into ZOLITUR coffers.
With 240,000 yearly cruise ship passengers in 2007, 60,000 international flight passengers and 300,000 domestic air and maritime passengers ZOLITUR should expect an annual income of $780,000 a year.
Currently the biggest ZOLITUR collections come from the 4% capital gains taxes that must be paid within three days of closing on all property sold since December 13, 2006. But since the sale is counted from the date of filing with registry of property and many new owners don't file the sale promptly, developers are ending up paying capital gains taxes for properties they sold years ago. "For an importer it [ZOLITUR] is excellent. For a developer it is not so much," says Hyde, who is also developing an affordable housing development Coxen Hole.

The ZOLITUR office in Coxen Hole and Bay Islanders registering for their IDs

And where will the money go? While in the last decade different Bay Islands municipalities have relied on the skill of their Mayors to raise funds for public works projects, ZOLITUR is expected to fund municipalities more evenly. "Now, unlike before, Santos Guardiola will get funds from the cruise ship visitors," said Julio Galindo, president of the Chamber of Tourism and ZOLITUR board member.
Each municipality has to present projects for funding and the ZOLITUR commission votes on the approval of projects for funding. According to Solomon, so far only Guanaja Municipality has presented an infrastructure project for ZOLITUR funding and at least 30% and possibly 40%-45% of the first quarter Lps. 5 million budget will go towards infrastructure projects.
The projects arriving from ZOLITUR will take place over time and some are getting frustrated at the slow tempo of change. "I paid a lot of money and we don't see any changes," said Michel Rodgers, owner of Roatan Realty.
The amount of time spent by companies trying to get all the paperwork together is a general concern. "We had two people on this full time for three weeks," says Al Johnson, Parrot Tree Plantation sales manager, about the ZOLITUR application procedure. Both Parrot Tree Plantation and its sister company Century 21-BI have received ZOLITUR licenses. "It doesn't seem like a feasible idea for smaller businesses though," said Johnson.
Items to be imported must be placed on import lists one year in advance. Customs have introduced late penalties for not taking an item through customs within 20 working days. In one example, an American who imported a $1,700 bed found himself paying Lps. 8,000 ($420) in import duties and Lps. 13,700 ($720) in customs penalties. "It is just not feasible. This is a secondary effect of ZOLITUR," says Elmer Cruz, owner of the Del Caribe, an import agency in Cozen Hole.
"They make you jump through hoops like you wouldn't believe," said Johnson. ZOLITUR has made the company look for original receipts from 12 years ago when construction on the Parrot Tree Plantation began. "They don't accept internet banking. Where's the modern world?" says Johnson.
"The first licenses we originally issued were a legal nightmare," said Brady. "It has been a journey. Let me just put it this way: if anything can save us it is that [ZOLITUR]." By August 20, 106 business have received their ZOLITUR license: 30% sole proprietor and 70% corporations. "The requirements haven't changed. We made it quite clear," says Solomon. While application requirements might be clear to ZOLITUR officials, the application process was both confusing and costly to many applicants.
One of the small businesses that applied for ZOLITUR was American Dian Lynn's furniture import business, "Dian's Garden of Eat'n." Lynn says that initially she was required to join CANATUR-BI and pay $2,000 in membership fees. "They even set up a desk in the ZOLITUR office," said Lynn, who refused to pay. Finally Lynn received her ZOLITUR license (no. 12) in February, but didn't even try to clear her container through. "I'm not a paperwork type of a girl, more of a do it girl," says Lynn, who presumed it would be a chaotic ordeal. She was right.
"For the first three weeks it was a disaster," says Boyd Svoboda, an American owner of GS Industries, a concrete and construction business on Roatan, remembering the early part of 2008. "The one guy in the country who could put the codes into the customs system went on vacation." Now Svoboda imports concrete materials tax free and without much problem.
Lynn however still has issues with ZOLITUR importation. In August, on her first shipment of furniture Lynn had to pay a $940 customs fine because in the long list of authorized import items, "wood furniture" was mentioned, but not "wooden chairs." Since Lynn can no longer deduct her sales tax from the $3,200 annual duties her business typically paid each year, "I still don't know if I'll be winning or losing, but it will be close," says Lynn. Many small businesses are in a situation where ZOLITUR is unlikely to improve their bottom line.
Even for ZOLITUR-licensed companies not everything is easy to import. ZOLITUR companies wishing to import cars, motorcycles, boats, planes and helicopters still have to go through Ministry of Finances and can expect to pay the 46% duties on the cost of items, shipping and insurance.
ZOLITUR isn't prospective good news for everyone. Honduran building materials manufacturers producing tiles, doors, windows and roofing are likely to suffer, as cheaper, more competitive products will arrive tax free from China. In addition, ZOLITUR is likely to discourage Honduran and Central American craftspeople from producing souvenir items for Bay Islands. Businesses that before relied on local and Honduran-made crafts will likely focus on imports of cheap Chinese goods.
With all this importing one clear winner will be the shipping companies. After Jackson Shipping suspends its US to Roatan cargo transport, the island will be left with three international maritime transport companies: Island Shipping, Caribbean Shipping and Hyde Shipping. "It will take three years to see the full benefits of ZOLITUR. It has kinks to work out," says GM Shawn Hyde, whose Hyde Shipping company is likely to grow in leaps and bounds as imports to the Bay Islands increase. Hyde Shipping is already building a new warehouse and office facility to prepare for the expansion in business.
According to Dennis Amaya, one of six customs officials stationed in the Bay Islands, around 80% of the cargo arriving in the Bay Islands is cleared to ZOLITUR-licensed companies. CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement that since 2005 includes Honduras, has few beneficiaries on Bay Islands. "[In the Bay Islands] it's mostly 'used clothes merchants' that bring in items tax free," says Amaya about CAFTA.
Ordinary Bay Islanders should benefit from lower prices in stores. Eldon's and Plaza Mar stores are already ZOLITUR members and have been able to save around 15% on import duties. With rising food prices, the price changes have not been visible. Vegas Electric, importing electrical materials under ZOLITUR license, has been able to pass the savings on to its customers.
The preoccupation with ZOLITUR fees and customs regulation has sidelined the most important aspects for why ZOLITUR was designed in the first place. After the regulation of Customs and Security, regulations concerning Education, Health, Culture and History will be implemented. "Most people thought that they could do their shopping duty free. That is not the idea. ZOLITUR is here to stimulate the economy and attract investment," said Solomon. "The concept is to make Bay Islands a better place, to make social growth equal to economic growth."
Until now the issues of security that ZOLITUR was meant to improve haven't changed at all, and part of the security issues are related to a neglected government health system on the island. "ZOLITUR has done nothing for Roatan Hospital," says Dr. Lastenia Cruz, director of the Roatan Hospital. Dr. Cruz is aware of the needs and hopes that ZOLITUR will eventually step up to the plate and help.

Cynthia Solomon executive director of ZOLITUR.

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A Republic, not a Democracy by Thomas Tomczyk

Yet voters shouldn't get used to this electoral abnormality. This November 6 elections will be a throw-back to 1789. Since then, Americans have been living not in a flawed democracy, but in a republic ruled by two parties' status quo. The US electoral system-a winner-takes-all system--is a de-facto dictatorship of two political parties which are unwilling to, and will likely never, cede their power.
America has a dysfunctional election system which no small measures can change. A jolt, however, a situation in which 75-80% of eligible voters refuse to vote, could do just that. The "your vote counts" call, however, serves to ensure that the public continues to participate and support an election process that they know instinctively doesn't empower them.
American voters are afraid to vote their conscience, calculating that during a close November election voting for candidates from Green Party, Libertarian, Socialist, Natural Law, etc. would be a "vote thrown away." Sizable numbers of US electorates don't vote with their conscience either, but rather out of fear of consequence where their conscience could take them.
The 2000 presidential election was the fourth time, after 1824, 1876 and 1888, that a candidate with fewer popular votes won the national elections. In 1992 Ross Perot and his billions of dollars managed to get 18.9% of popular vote didn't pick up a single electoral college vote. Thanks to the winner-takes-all system Bill Clinton won that year with only 43% of the popular vote. If 57% of people who voted for someone other than Clinton had had a chance to vote in run-off elections, it is likely that there would have been another result. The winner-takes-all election process is an undemocratic and dangerous system to have.
One glimmer of hope is given by two states: Maine and Nebraska. You will not see presidential candidates campaigning there for one reason: these two states allocate their electoral college votes proportionally, based on the popular vote winner of each of the state's individual congressional districts. In addition the statewide popular vote winner receives two additional electoral votes. Complicated, but fair.

At the time of the first United States elections in 1789, only white, male property owners over the age of 24--roughly 10%-16% of the population--could vote. Since then a trickle of changes and enfranchisements have followed. First, in 1820, a religious prerequisite for voters was dropped. In 1850 the land-ownership requirement was waived. Then in 1870 the XV amendment extended voting rights to black men. Half a century later, in 1920, the XIX amendment granted women the right to vote in national elections. Last to be given suffrage in national elections were the Native Americans in 1924.
Today, and since 1870, it is the women who are the most underrepresented group in US congress. While the 13% (42 of 435 congressmen) strong African American population has 9.5% of seats in congress only 13 women, or less then 3% of the total, are in congress. Women, however, are the voting majority at 51%.
In 2004 elections, 10% of the voting age public couldn't vote if they tried. Aliens, disenfranchised felons and persons who are considered "mentally incompetent" are not eligible to vote in US federal elections. The first Tuesday in November tradition disenfranchises millions of voters who work long hours, two jobs, and can't make it in time to pooling stations.
This 2008 election cycle the Democratic party primary was exhilarating and exhausting. Voters in long-forgotten states and states ceded to other party states (Wyoming, Puerto Rico, North Dakota, for example) had a chance to meet Democratic challengers first hand. Few Americans realize why this actually happened. For the first time in its history, the Democratic party followed a proportional allocation of electoral college votes in states' primary elections. A candidate winning 50% plus one vote in Florida didn't carry the state's 25 electoral college votes, but only 13 to the challengers 12. Fair, isn't it?
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Big Fish Under Threat

Fishing for Shark Fins around Bay Islands Intensifies

One of the most well-informed people as to the condition of sharks around Roatan is Maurilio Mirabella, owner of Roatan's Waihuka Adventure. Waihuka is a dive operation specializing in shark dives on the Cordelia Bank, three miles south of Coxen Hole.
In 2006, while diving with a group of tourists, Mirabella noticed his first shark with a cut fin. In 2007 another shark appeared that survived an encounter with fishermen trying to cut his fin and throwing him overboard once they cut his fin. In March Mirabella received a phone call about a shark that washed up in Coxen Hole. "Only his head was there. He was completely gutted," says Mirabella. "If you kill one shark, you kill four groupers, 12 snappers, it affects the entire ecosystem."
Mirabella sometimes ends up paying local fishermen to cut lines with a shark they've just caught. Sometimes he waits around in his dive boat until a fishing boat leaves the area where sharks are present. It's a game of cat and mouse, and Mirabella says that the threat to Roatan's sharks is intensifying. Part of the shark-fishing problem, Mirabella believes, is generated by locals who kill the fish for shark oil, a liquid considered a cure-all. Additionally, shark fins sometimes "surface" in La Ceiba, likely in the town's three Chinese restaurants which serve shark fin a-la-carte as a delicacy and an aphrodisiac.

Seahorses sold for a dollar and shark fin (top right) sold for three dollars at a roatan resort. (Photo James Foley)

Sharks, despite descending from an ancient lineage of vertebrates dating back some 400 million years, are at their lowest point of all time. These apex predators rely on an entire food chain being healthy in order to support them which makes them especially vulnerable to a changing habitat. Bay Islands' fragile reef has supported hundreds of sharks. But their fishing falls in a gray legal area, which many fishermen and shark parts vendors are taking advantage.
Amongst Roatan's dozens of tourist souvenir shops, shark fins are sold for just a couple dollars. Fishermen on Saint Helene have been seen with shark fins, where sometimes sharks are caught and butchered in plain site. In February, while on a research trip to Utila's Pigeon Cay, a Utila fisherman caught a 7' hammerhead which he butchered on a dock. James Foley, director of research and development at Roatan Marine Park, saw the entire incident. "In the end fishing for shark is a gray area," says Foley. "Shark's longevity and low rates of reproduction make them especially vulnerable to overexploitation."

The 30 Day Itch By Tracy Carris
Long Term Foreigner Residents in BI are trying to Make Sense of the Confusing Immigration Laws and Fines

Bay Islands Voice investigative reporting resulted in change of Bay Islands immigration procedures and promise of issuing of receipts for every fine paid. With an immigration official's starting salary of Lps. 6,000, the temptation of pocketing 27% of a monthly salary for every fine was substantial. From now, tens of thousands of dollars owed to central government should be accounted for. Honduras, in Transparency International ranking, places 121 for corruption, 1 being the best (Finland) and 163 (Haiti) the worst.
Prior to the policy change Roatan immigration officials said that they were doing foreign visitors a favor by letting them leave the country without the inconvenience, or virtual impossibility, of visiting a bank to pay the fine. Pacheco stated that new procedure for paying fines, using a page off government fees form deposit slip, was in place as of mid August.
Pacheco said that the automatic 90 day visa applies strictly to tourists. Business visas leave more discretion to the immigration official who determine if the business is legal, taxes are being paid and ties to the Honduran business community exist. To be considered for a 90 day business visa Pacheco suggested to provide immigration officials the following: a letter from your attorney if you are applying for residency, a copy of your corporation documents, or a bank book in the company name. A 30 day visa extension is typically available for $25.
According to Marlene Aquiriano, an airport immigration official, even people who enter the country as tourist can be determined to be here on business. If the officer determines you trip is business as well as tourism, there is a strong chance you will be issued 30 days.
Dr. Patrick Connell, a volunteer doctor at Sandy Bay's Clinica Esperanza, stated that over the past several years he had problems getting a 90 day visa, but this year, with a letter in hand from the clinic was granted 90 days for the first time.
According to Aquiriano, the fine for overstaying initial visa is Lps. 1,624 Lempira for the first month and for every extra month the visa is overstayed the fine goes up Lps. 325.
Pacheco was recently rotated off the Bay Islands and replaced by Ramon Paz. For further information on Honduran Immigration the following numbers and web site may help: Roatan Immigration: 445-1326, Tegucigalpa Immigration: 235-7038 and
Roatan Airport Immigration Counter.
T Until mid August many foreigners departing the Bay Islands were fined, most often without a receipt, for overstaying the allotted time on their visa. The typical fine applied was Lps. 1,624. Now, after involvement of the Tegucigalpa Immigration, anyone fined for overstaying their allotted time should receive a receipt.
"Don't pay the fine, if they don't give you a receipt," stated Rigoberto Alvarado, a Chief of Foreign Matters at Immigration Department in Tegucigalpa. Alvarado went onto say the law requires that North Americans and Europeans entering Honduras for tourist purposes should be issued 90 days visas automatically.
There are hundreds of foreigners frustrated and confused about the ever changing immigration laws and rudimentary application of 90 day visa, or visa renewals. Many of them are retirees, live on fixed budgets and many also own homes on the Bay Islands. Still, every 90 days they have to leave Honduras and travel as far as Mexico, or Costa Rica, stay there three days, to be allowed back into the Honduras.
"It's money, money, money and I've never had anything accomplished with a lawyer," says Larry Wood, a Canadian retiree on Roatan since 1994 who has given up trying to get his residency. Woods lives on a fixed budget and every three months leaves Honduras to be able to enjoy his Jonesville Point residence. Wood estimates that that over the years he has spent around $1,500 on visa renewals. "Never in 14 years they have given me a receipt," says Wood.
Initially Mario Pacheco, former chief of Bay Islands Immigration, argued that no proper receipts can be issued outside of the banks. A few days later, after Bay Islands Voice contacted Tegucigalpa Immigration about the receipt issue, Pacheco found a way to account for fines collected from foreigners that should end up in governments coffers.
The Boom in Utila Municipality
Utila is Booming: Public Buildings and Projects are Going Up Everywhere

Bay Islands smallest Municipality has the most to show for itself. Over the last four to five years Utila has become the Cinderella story of the Archipelago.
In 2005, the 15 Fondo Prosperidad projects that never arrived on Roatan have pumped money and energy into the local Utila economy with over $200,000 spent on construction and attracting tourists.
A new public school building, named after current mayor Alton Cooper, opened doors in 2007. A desalination plant for potable water paid for by the Spanish government opened doors in July.
A new bridge was constructed at the Utila Cays. And on land just north of the police station, donated by the Morgan family, a football field is under construction.
A few projects are on the horizon, and their arrival still unscheduled. The Utila garbage dump still needs investment, and the road between East Harbour and the Cays remains just a sketch. A new lighthouse at the entry to East Harbour is planned and a plastic bottle compacting machine is expected to arrive soon. Piping for a black water treatment plant and piping for East Harbour, paid for by PMAIB, is laid through the town.
Black water construction on Cola de Mico Road.

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Whitefly Hits Roatan

As Lethal Yellowing Danger Winds Down a More Dangerous Whitefly Infestation Endangers All Palms in the Bay Islands

Murphy, owner of a Roatan plant nursery, first noticed Whitefly infestations in February. In her 22 years of working in Honduras, Murphy has seen Whitefly before, but never so bad.
Controlling Whitefly is a difficult, almost unending struggle. Weekly chemical sprayings underneath leaves, on coconuts and palm trunks have to be repeated for three weeks. Then pyrethrin insecticide has to be switched as Whitefly mutates and becomes resistant to the original chemical.
Thousands of coconut trees are at risk, and the effects of Whitefly will likely be even more complex. Close to the sea pesticide spraying against Whitefly could adversely affect the condition of the already fragile Roatan reef. Also the disappearing of coconuts close to shore could facilitate erosion of soils that are kept together by the plant's roots.
Murphy believes that palm trees away from water sources and in weak soils are particularly susceptible to Whitefly. Once a palm becomes infected the best strategy is to rip down infected, yellowed palm leaves and burn them immediately. The uninfected leaves will hopefully be enough to keep the palm from dying. "The worse thing about Whitefly is that it is adaptable. They are nasty little buggers," says Murphy about the two-millimeter large insect.
At this point Whitefly infections have been spotted in Los Fuertes, Dixon Cove and Palmetto. Parrot Tree Plantation, Palmetto Bay Plantation and Marbella Beach resort are protecting their palms and spaying for Whitefly. In Honduras private property owners have to count only on themselves. No local or central government can be expected to lend a hand in a country-wide disease which threatens the growth and stability of Honduras' tourism economy.
"We can report, but it is responsibility of the central government to control a plague like this," said Lidia Medina, head of Roatan Municipal's Environmental Unit, who said she noticed Whitefly in Santos Guardiola around January. Some Roatan Municipality members are worried more than others. "While the grass is growing, the horse is starving," says Glen Solomon, a city council member from Gravels Bay.
While Roatan Municipality has spent tax money on green areas, the maintenance of public greenery is largely symbolic and unplanned. In October 2004 PMAIB, CANATURH-BI and Roatan Municipality combined forces to plant a hundred palms and trees in front of the garbage dump. By August 2008 only seven plants survive, the rest have died or have been stolen.
In 2006 the sidewalk promenade in Gravels Bay was lined with one- and two-year-old palms. According to Solomon, counsel member Julio Galindo donated 500 palms while 200 more were purchased with Municipal funds. "A majority of them are lost," says Solomon, who admits that no watering or plant maintenance program followed the planting.

Helen Murphy inspects a Whitefly infected coconut palm in Dixon Cove.

Coconut palms have become synonymous with the image of Caribbean beaches. "You can't count on developing a [hotel] project without having coconut palms," says Helen Murphy. While the image of a Caribbean without palms is unthinkable, one infection has wiped out thousands of palm trees in the Bay Islands already and another disease-Whitefly-is likely to be even more lethal.
On Honduras' mainland since the early 1990s, Lethal Yellowing (LY) killed hundreds of thousands of palm trees, while thousands of palm trees died all over the Bay Islands. "When the disease got done with us, all you saw was coconut stumps," says Oliver Dilber, a builder from Los Fuertes. The cost of losing the palm trees goes far beyond their monetary value of $15 to $200.
Lethal Yellowing is a disease transmitted by plant hopper Myndus Crudus disease which attacks many coconut and date palms. Palms usually die within three to six months. The only effective control of the LY is prevention and planting of disease resistant coconut palm varieties.
"Hybrids of plants from Costa Rica have been imported," says Gary Chamer, owner of Palmetto Bay. Chamer has sponsored a program of prevention and LY control on Palmetto Bay Plantation by injecting an antibiotic Tetracycline into the trunks of the palms.
Chamer suggests injecting four times a year for mature, especially valuable palms, while for others once a year is enough. At $10-15 an injection, maintaining LY-free palms can be costly, and Chamer estimates that out of the 500 palm trees in Palmetto Bay Plantation, 1% is still lost every year to disease or insects.
Another one of these attackers is Red Palm Weevil beetle. The medium-size beetle, originating from tropical Asia, plants its larval in trunks of palm trees. Its burrowing can and often does kill the host plant.
The most recent and likely most lethal threat to Bay Islands' palms is a white winged, two-millimeter long insect with a ravenous appetite for chloroform. Whitefly insects typically imbed themselves on the underside of plant leaves and feed by tapping into the phloem of the plants, leaving toxic saliva and quickly overwhelming susceptible plants. They suck the host plant's chloroform dry and plant hundreds of white colored eggs in a never ending reproduction and destruction cycle. The attacked palm's leaves yellow, its coconuts fall, and finally its leaves turn brown and the palm dies. A grown palm tree can die within a few months, after which the insects move on to other palms, plants or vegetables. Even hybrid palm trees, immune to Lethal Yellowing, are susceptible. 1550 species,

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