story / editorial
Nine Years of Empire by
Years after returning to Honduras - What are the Bay Islanders Really
nine-year period (26 March, 1852 - 22 April, 1861) in which
the Bay Islands were officially a British colony has created
a never ending longing in some islanders for the Englishness
they left behind. While every April 22 some Bay Islanders
celebrate the 'Return to Honduras' day, other islanders
don't celebrate at all and don't hesitate to tell about
their displeasure of the 'return.' "The celebrations
are a fraction of what they used to be," said Joe Solomon,
chief of Roatan Municipal police. "Some people don't
know whether to celebrate, or to mourn."
While some Bay Islands feel they were sold out by the British
Crown, others feel nostalgic for the British path the Bay
Islands didn't take. "Queen Victoria's name was cursed
for many years after this. We stopped only after her death
 as we don't speak badly about dead people,"
said George Crimmins, a West End resident.
Few islanders actually blame US pressure on the Great Britain
to relinquish the islands, and even fewer understand the
context of how the islands became an English Colony, and
what took place afterwards.
the early 19th century the Bay Islands were practically
uninhabited, a backwater for both the Central American Republics
and Britain. In a report by Orlando Roberts, an English
trader doing business in the Bay of Honduras, in the early
1820s the islands had just a few people living there permanently.
There was a Garifuna settlement in Punta Gorda and "five
or six Spaniards" posted by the government in Port
Royal on an intermittent basis.
Until 1831, it is estimated that fewer then 100 people lived
in the Bay Islands. But the young Honduran Republic, created
less then ten years prior, didn't abandon the archipelago
and kept a four-five man army post in Port Royal flying
the Honduran flag. Several Spanish installed themselves
on Roatan and Guanaja and used the islands as a fishing
base. By the 1830s, the Bay Islands had become an administrative
pain in the neck for a young Honduran republic that had
no navy and much bigger problems on the mainland.
Following the Spanish American revolution and the creation
of Honduras in 1821, Honduras had acquired the rights to
the Bay Islands though 'Uti Possidetis,' and Great Britain
had recognized Honduran sovereignty to the islands, with
the acknowledgment that they had some English settlers there
and a strategic position in the Bay of Honduras.
The situation was all about to change with the expected
abolition of slavery in the British Empire. In the Cayman
Islands of the early 1830s, the White population was outnumbered
by five to one, and with abolition of slavery on the horizon,
many White Cayman Islanders looked at places to migrate
to. Caymanian turtle hunters often visited the Bay Islands
and some Englishmen who had been expelled from the Mosquito
Coast by the Spanish in 1790s and settled in Caymans had
knowledge of the Bay Islands from that period.
The migration from the Caymans to Belize and Bay Islands
had begun by 1831 and by1855 approximately 700 Cayman Islanders
had settled in the Bay Islands. At first they were all White,
but soon Black Cayman Islanders followed and settled close
by. An estimated 24 White Cayman families arrived in the
Bay Islands between 1831 and 1843.
When on August 1, 1834 slavery officially ended in the Cayman
ex-slaves took advantage of the one-acre land allotment
from the British Crown and moved to Roatan. White settlers
were eligible for a three acre land grant.
Accounts tell of over 200 ex-slave families arriving on
Roatan: "the slaves who obtained their freedom, but
could not procure labor in a small island, like the Grand
Cayman, hearing of the success of their former masters,
followed in their footsteps [to Roatan]."
Soon the Bay Islanders began an effort to clarify their
legal status and gain official British protection. Several
colonists skillfully played the British government authorities
in Belize, the closest British outpost, getting attention
and sympathy. They wrote letters, signed petitions, and
reported on abuses by the Spanish.
In 1838 several Bay Islanders sent a letter to Belize claiming
that the Spanish commander in Trujillo made threats against
the Caymanians who settled on Roatan. British authorities
in Belize sent Colonel McDonald to Roatan's Port Royal.
Colonel McDonald removed Spanish soldiers present there
and hoisted the Union Jack.
While the British eventually backtracked on their actions
to the Honduran government, the gesture instilled hope for
Great Britain's plans for the archipelago in the English
speaking settlers. For a while, in recognition of these
actions, Coxen Hole, the island's capital, was renamed Port
Through the 1840s the Bay Islands' economy grew, their contacts
with Belize improved, and with land grants being issued
the islanders found themselves settling Utila, Guanaja,
Barbarat, Helene, and eastern Roatan. In 1850 around 120
White settlers left Coxen Hole and settled the Utila Suc-suc
Cay and Guanaja's Sheen and Hog Cays.
By the late 1850s the Bay Islands had become economically
self sufficient, an exception in the post-slavery period
in the British Caribbean. But the Bay Islands was a new
colony, created without the vestiges of the British colonial
system, slavery and servitude. It was the promised land
for both fleeing White ex-slave owners and ex-slaves. It
was a place for entrepreneurs from other countries. An 1858
British census of 1739 residents of the Bay Islands showed
600 Cayman Islanders, 488 Bay Islanders,139 people from
the Mosquito shore, 61 Belizeans, 28 Jamaicans, 14 English,
14 Africans, 8 US citizens, 6 Scotts, one German and one
Arab, amongst others. Interestingly, Spanish, estimated
at about 15% of the total population and Garifuna, also
around 15% or so, were not accounted for in the document.
Between 1855 and 1858 around 300 people, more than 20% of
the English speaking population, left Roatan for Belize
and Jamaica in anticipation of the return of the islands
is curious that the Garifuna community that was based almost
continually on Roatan since 1797, never dispersed and claimed
land in other parts of the island or on other Bay islands.
Garifuna were on Roatan for 35 years before Cayman Islanders
showed up and distrust between two groups quickly begun.
Garifuna, like the Spanish, were Catholic, and many spoke
Spanish and associated the English with the traumatic Black
Carib expulsion from Saint Vincent, during which hundreds
of Garifuna died.
Santos Guardiola bilingual poster about the return of Bay
Islands to Honduras
1850s Garifuna conducted raids on islander property and the
British government decided to issue muskets to British subjects
in Bonacca and Coxen Hole. A group of Garifuna were imprisoned,
but managed to escape.
Despite an economic boom, Bay Islands wasn't always a happy
place. A minor riot followed a "perjury" trial and
imprisonment of Black schoolteacher in Coxen Hole. That documented
event set islander against islander.
As the Bay Islands colony grew economically self sufficient,
its entrepreneurial citizens embarked upon the business of
farming, trading plantains, coconuts and bananas. The exports
were valued at 14,000 British Pounds and produced a surplus.
Bay Islands produce was shipped to Belize and the US with
the US export market rising from 41% to 90% by 1859, but barely
1% of exports went to the Honduras mainland and only 2% of
its imports came from there.
The desire to hold sea frontage land led to rapid growth of
communities of West End, Flowers Bay, and Jobs Bight. Around
90% of 1,600-1,700 people living on Roatan in 1850 lived in
or around Coxen Hole. There is even one account of Coxen Hole
serving as a slave holding station for slaves destined for
US and Cuba.
Still the English weren't the only people attracted to the
archipelago's unclaimed land. Also some US citizens (Samuel
Warren and Joshua) settled on the Utila Cays. Some French
families settled around Roatan's Port Royal and the Spanish
Ruis family settled on Barbarat.
In 1849 William Fitzgibbon, a US citizen, was elected Chief
Magistrate of Bay Islands and the US was quick to respond.
In an 1850 letter, John Clayton, US secretary of State, declared
"under no circumstances would the Government of United
States permit the Government of Great Brittan to interfere
with the affairs of the settlers at Roatan."
In the 1850s several US Senate discussions claimed that the
British presence in the Bay Islands was a violation of the
Monroe Doctrine and the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty. With the potential
strategic importance of the archipelago if a Nicaraguan trans-isthmus
canal was built, the US was not happy to see Britain expand
its interests. On July 4, 1850 the US Congress ratified the
Clayton-Butler treaty with Great Britain in which colonization,
occupation, and fortification in Central America were forbidden.
Despite some backtracking to the US congress, the British
government did eventually claim the Bay Islands as its colony.
A Letters Patent was issued in March 1852 creating the Colony
of the Bay Islands, a higher status British possession than
Belize had at the time, which was a settlement. On July 11,
1852, the Superintendent of Belize declared the Bay Islands
a colony of Great Britain. "Her Britannic Majesty has
deigned to constitute as a colony Roatan, Bonnacco, Utila,
Barbareta, Elena and Morat, designated by the name 'Colony
of the Bay Islands,'" stated Superintendent Wodehouse.
By the 1850s the majority of Bay Islands residents were born
outside of the archipelago, mostly in Cayman Islands. The
case of Texan secession from Mexico in 1835 could inspire
the Cayman Islanders in hopes of bringing a similar coup in
the Bay Islands.
The Wyke-Cruz treaty between Queen Victoria and Honduras was
signed at Comayagua on November 28, 1859 that clarified the
status of Bay Islands and guaranteed their return to Honduras.
American buccaneer and adventurer William Walker had landed
on Roatan on June 15, 1860. Some 40 British troops from Belize
were already there, sent there to quell any potential trouble
from any of the population unwilling to submit to the Honduran
For over a month Walker distributed leaflets trying to gain
support from the islanders. He got only three Roatanians to
join his expedition party that in August sailed to Honduran
mainland and took Trujillo by force.
In an ironic twist, the British lent the Honduran government
a helpful hand and quelled Walker's plans. A British schooner
Icarus, under Captain Salmon, went in pursuit of the American
filibuster all the way up to Black River in La Mosquitia.
Salmon captured Walker and 73 of his followers, accomplishing
what the Honduran troops could not do. Walker was executed
in Trujillo and the three islanders sent back home.
In a sense, this is what Honduras really wanted: for the Bay
Islands to be given back and Honduras to be able to count
on British naval protection in the Bay of Honduras.
When a copy of the "Honduran Gazette" with the text
of the Wyke Treaty arrived at Coxen Hole in December 1860,
some islanders refused to believe it. Barely two days later,
150 islanders signed a petition to Queen Victoria asking to
"enjoy our own laws and institutions under the Protectorate
of Your Most Gracious Majesty's Government."
The Wyke Treaty not only didn't give islanders British protection,
it did not guarantee trail by jury, or exemption from taxes
or military service. The treaty did guarantee islander's property
rights and freedom of religious worship and belief. There
is a speculation that granting religious worship rights to
the islanders was the chief cause of president Santos Guardiola
being excommunicated in December 1860. In fact, the rift between
the Catholic Church and the state of Honduras followed into
An attempt to have the Wyke Treaty sent back for revision
by the Honduran Senate failed by one vote in March 1861.
On April 22, 1861, Honduran authorities took physical possession
of the Bay Islands. A one page poster, signed by president
Santos Guardiola, and announcing the return of Bay Islands
to Honduras is dated April 24, 1861. La Gazeta, Honduras'
official newspaper, printed the ratified treaty in its issue
36 on October 30, 1861.
While the Wake Treaty guaranteed an annual 5,000 British Pounds
payment to be paid by the Honduran Government to the Mosquito
Indians, not even the very first payment was made. This brings
up the issue of whether the treaty should be considered as
valid. Upon rejoining Honduras, the Bay Islands actually paid
into the Honduran coffers. The 168 British Pounds that was
found in the Bay Islands treasury was handed over to the Honduran
authorities on June 1, 1861.
If the Bay Islands had any chance at becoming reintegrated
into the British Colonial empire, the chance came in the several
years after ceding the islands to Honduras when the US was
distracted by its civil war and Honduras was strapped for
After the assassination of Santos Guardiola, the new Honduran
president, Victoriano Castellanos offered in 1862 to revert
the treaty and give the archipelago back to Great Britain
for 40,000 BP in bank holders' claims. By that time however
the British Government wasn't interested.
In the late 1860s, the US was increasingly distracted by the
growing polarization between the North and South. The period
leading to the US civil war left few in Washington preoccupied
with Central America or the Caribbean. In general in the 19th
century, British interests were usually more focused on Belize,
Black River and the Mosquito Coast, than they were on the
Bay Islands. Whatever interest Queen Victoria had in the archipelago,
it dwindled fast. While the US had a consul on the Bay Islands,
Great Britain did not and soon even withdrew their consul
Two decades went by and the Honduran government finally embraced
the idea of keeping the Bay Islands. On May 14, 1872, the
department of the Bay Islands was created and its citizens
brought under full Honduran law and legislature. For decades
following the handover, Bay Islanders that didn't leave to
claim British land offered in Jamaica or Belize refused to
serve in the Honduran armed forces and resisted paying any
kind of taxes.
disabled ex lobster diver looks on from his bed. He has spent
almost 20 years lying on his stomach and has difficulty clearing
story / editorial
/ local new s
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James Foley, Executive Director of Roatán Marine
I was very interested to read the feature story "The
Dark side of Lobster" in the last Voice issue. It
is a subject that is close to my heart as I used to live
and work on Big Corn Island, Nicaragua and saw first-hand
some of the very real and tragic impacts of the lobster
diving industry there. The Corn Islands were a British
Protectorate from 1655 until 1894, and as such, share
a similar history and culture to that of the Bay Islands.
Over the last two decades however, the two island groups
have begun to go different ways, both culturally and economically.
While Roatán has seen the arrival of mass tourism
over the last two decades, the Corn Islands have, until
very recently, had little more than a fledgling tourism
industry; the mainstay of the economy having been coconut
production, and more recently, lobster diving.
I went to Big Corn in 2006 to work as a diving instructor
for Nautilus Divers with the intention of teaching visiting
tourists to dive. However, it soon became apparent that
the trickle of one or two tourists per week to the island
was leaving me at a loose end for much of the time.
I routinely witnessed many of the local young men diving
for lobsters using nothing more than ancient SCUBA tanks
held under one arm, taking breaths directly from the tank
valve as they dove to depths exceeding 50 metres, up to
12 times per day. I befriended several divers who worked
for private lobster boats which would travel three-four
days out to sea in search of lobster on the offshore banks.
These boats would often be at sea for 10-12 days at a
time before returning to the island with their catch.
All of these boats were providing lobster for Red Lobster,
the large US-based seafood restaurant chain. Many of these
divers would come back to the island with decompression
sickness, the bends, leaving them partially paralysed.
Two people that I knew personally even died as a result.
that came back unharmed would often report that co-workers
of theirs had suffered such serious cases of the bends
while out at sea, that it was decided to throw them overboard
rather than put them through the agony of a four day trip
back to the island. They said it was "kinder"
that way. The nearest recompression chamber to the Corn
Islands is Anthony's Key Resort in Roatán, a five
day boat ride away. Usually, boat captains are unwilling
to spare the expense of taking victims to this treatment
facility. Divers are unable to ask to do less diving because
there are always new people willing to take their place.
response, I decided to dedicate my free time towards offering
the PADI Open Water Course to any lobster divers who may
be interested, free of charge. It was a very challenging
yet highly rewarding experience to teach these people, many
of whom were illiterate. I had to read them the entire PADI
Open Water manual, as well as the exams, and had to be extra
inventive when teaching decompression theory to people who
had never had the benefit of a basic education. This meant
that the courses would last 11-12 days instead of the usual
three or four. However, seeing these people grasp the concepts
of safe diving and pass the course was more than worth the
effort. The immense pride they felt in themselves for having
made this achievement would make them recommend the course
to other lobster divers. I remember they would often say,
"I can't believe I did all that diving without knowing
this! I can't believe we have all been putting ourselves
at such high risk without having any idea of safe diving
The sad part of this however, was that after completing
the course, many of the divers would say that if they were
to follow the No Decompression Limits set out by PADI, then
diving for lobster would be no longer economically viable
for them. The economic margins of this industry simply do
not allow for safe diving. Until either foreign consumers
are prepared to pay more for lobster, or alternative livelihood
options are made available to those living on the Mosquito
Coast, this industry will continue to claim lives and devastate
story / editorial
/ local news
Scream for Beenie by Thomas Tomczyk
Dancehall Artist Plays Coxen Hole
the logistics of the concert weren't enough of a challenge, the
day before Beenie Man came to Roatan, Nadinia found herself in head-on-collision
traffic accident. Her driver suffered severely broken legs and Dye
was shaken up.
"I wanted to do this in Coxen Hole [stadium] because it is
such a great location," said Dye. The dilapidated football
stadium hasn't been maintained since it opened in 2005. Dye paid
for 250 meters of new metal and plastic fencing to surround the
site. She brought in portable toilets, a stage, and generators.
Even Beenie Man himself helped out on a day of the concert and organized
a crew of around 30 volunteers to nail down barriers dividing space
into VIP and press sections.
At 7pm, as the concert was about to start, Coxen Hole and much of
the island was plunged into darkness. Tourists and concert goers
had to go through the dark streets of Coxen Hole to find the stadium
lit up by generator lights. "Who would want to leave home if
there were no lights?" said Dye.
The dance hall rhythms of Beenie Man, while related to Spanish crowd-pleasing
Reggaeton, failed to attract crowds of Spanish speaking audiences.
Despite a 25% discount being offered to ticket buyers coming from
the mainland, the vast majority of the concert attendees were locals.
Dye admits that the Lps. 750 general admission tickets were too
expensive for many people, but she says that the prices were set
by the gold sponsor of the event, La Diaria lottery. Dye is currently
in litigation with the sponsor for the approximately 2,000 tickets
that La Diaria received and sold.
"People said it's amazing to organize this without doing it
before. But if you learn, you learn from the best," said Dye
who plans to have the Riddims 'n Roatan concert become a permanent
addition to the island's event calendar.
at the Coxen Hole concert.
of today's most popular Jamaican musicians, Beenie Man, played a three
hour concert in Coxen Hole on April 4. While crowds cheered "Beenie,
" the Jamaican "King of Dance Hall Music,"
began converting Roatanians to Dance Hall music. Well, at least the
1,500 or so fans that were there.
While some were disappointed that the crowd didn't approach the goal
of 7,000 fans, few were disappointed with Beenie Man's performance.
The mere fact of placing Roatan on the concert path of a Billboard
Top 40 artist was an achievement in itself.
The promoter that brought Beenie Man to Roatan is Nadinia Dye, an
American Spa owner in Sandy Bay. Dye worked in Jamaican radio for
several years and came to know many Jamaican musicians, including
Andrew Thomas, a DJ working with Beenie Man. When Beenie was asked
if he wanted to do the concert in Honduras, on an English speaking
island, he jumped at the idea. "It was my dream for 14 years
to do this," said Dye.
Year's Biggest Tourist Week Ends on a Mixed Note
businesses showed more patience, but felt vulnerable to receiving
fines for employing illegal foreign workers. "We have
at least one legal employee working at the counter,"
said a West End business owner. When Immigration came, the
foreign staff would go home and business would run with a
Hondurans skeleton crew. Other business just shut down for
days in an effort to avoid the raids. This is a common situation
in West End and West Bay where many businesses rely on foreign
service staff, dive staff, and entertainers who don't have
a legal working status in Honduras.
Less lucky was Brion James whose musical performance at Blue
Channel, a West End bar and restaurant, was interrupted. James
was asked to produce his residency papers. When the band members
said they only play for food and drinks each band member was
fined Lps. 9,000.As the owner of the Blue Channel explained
that the band was playing for food and drinks, he was fined
Lps. 9,000 as well. "I am reconsidering switching to
another career," said James.
Alex Manzato, owner of Blue Channel, was also upset by the
crackdown and is considering selling a business he has run
for seven years. "The municipality is not helping West
End in being a growing tourist destination," says Manzato
who says Blue Channel paid Lps. 12,000 in fines to immigration
and Municipality in the last six month alone.
"The real winners were the Cerveceria," said Aaron
Etches, manager of Sundowners, a popular West End bar. Cerveceria
Hondureña, Honduras' dominant beer distributor, asked
all West End bars to reduce their beer price for Semana Santa
to one dollar. Participating bars would receive 10 free cases
of beer, but with beers sold at a dollar, the profit margin
for the bars was only 25 US cents.
weekend tourists and locals enjoy the Beach on Guanaja's South
side. The most visited beaches were: Michael Rock, Kay Graham,
and soldier beach and islander's favorite - Dina Beach. (photo
by Luis Feldman)
business owners noticed a decline in tourists in West End during
the 2009 Semana Santa as compared to last year. The mood of
West End businesses was already down in the run up to the busiest
tourist week of the year. From March 22 thru April 3 Immigration,
Revenue Department and Municipal Police officials performed
joint patrols and raided West Bay and West End businesses.
After the second group of tax inspectors in one week came to
do the inspection at West End's Georphi's Hideaway cabañas
and restaurant, its owners had had enough. "My cool, collected
wife lost it," says George Crimmins, owner of Georphi's
Man in Honduras
Hugo Lorenz began his posting in Honduras in 2008. Ambassador
Lorenz paid his first official visit to Bay Islands in March
and Bay Islands VOICE spoke to him in West Bay.
Signing of ALBA has surprised and worried many US investors.
Do you believe that signing of ALBA will be reversed by the
next Honduran administration, or is it likely that Honduras
will leave CAFTA to stay in ALBA?
Ambassador H.L.: No, not at all. ALBA is strictly economic
and doesn't talk about any political alignment. The Honduran
government recognizes that its principal political ally is
the United States, in terms of being its largest investment
and military partner. None of that has changed. We know that
there is a commitment on part of this government as well as
on the part of the two political candidates in upcoming elections
B.I.V.: So you are saying that for Honduras and Nicaragua,
who are both part of CAFTA and ALBA, the best place to be
is to trade with the north as well as with ALBA partners?
Ambassador H.L.: I am not suggesting there is any best
place to be. I am saying that countries are free to choose
who they choose to have economic relations with. We support
democracy and we don't care if a country is on the left or
right side of the ideological spectrum. What we care about
is that the countries are committed to democratic values.
[If they] believe in freedom of expression, media rights,
free and fair elections - those are the values that we share
with Latin America.
B.I.V.: Guanaja, Utila, Roatan airports have been used,
in an increasing trend, as landing strips for plane-to-boat
cocaine smuggling operations. Has the US Navy or Coast Guard
put any extra effort in assuring that Bay Islands won't become
a cocaine smuggling relay point rather that a retirement haven?
Ambassador H.L.: One of my principal security objectives
is combating the problem of international crime and narcotics
smuggling. We are working closely with the Honduran government
in a holistic way to raise our capability to minimizethe problem
of drug trafficking. Clearly what we have seen in the recent
years is the increasing bans on drug trafficking in Central
America. This is a regional problem and we have to combine
our capabilities to be effective. We are focusing the ability
to project our presence in the key [drug smuggling] corridors.
In La Mosquitia the La Tasca base is being built. We recently
donated four fast boats to the Honduran Navy. We are creating
a possibility for more detection and interdiction in the Bay
Islands. We are not leaving the Bay Islands alone. The Bay
Islands needs to be a place free of international crime, a
peaceful place. I see Bay Islands as a unique place that brings
Honduras into the global economy. The last thing you want
is a pristine place like this to be ruined by drug traffickers.
B.I.V.: In Honduras in places like Tocoa, Olanchito,
even La Ceiba one can see the narco money being used in construction
of malls and homes creating a mini boom. Do you see this as
potentially the thing that will allow Honduras to make it
through tough economic times?
Ambassador H.L.: Narco money is poison to the economy.
Drug traffickers only try to launder their money so what they
do is compete against legitimate businesses which are the
heart and soul of the Honduran economy. The real profits and
real wages are the measure of productivity. The drug traffickers
may generate some wealth that appears on the surface, while
they drive legitimate business out of business. At the end
of the day the real economy is damaged by what is bad money.
The key people that will ultimately develop Honduras are driven
out like a cancer by the drug trafficking money. Drug money
is ultimately no good for the long term development of Honduras.
Hugo Lorenz began his posting in Honduras in 2008. Ambassador
Lorenz paid his first official visit to Bay Islands in March
and Bay Islands VOICE spoke to him in West Bay.
Islands VOICE: In Bay Islands there are perhaps 1,200 -
1,500 full time foreign residents, yet for a group that is around
2% of the total population, the crime rate far surpasses that
of the general population. Other than damage control and preoccupation
with impact on tourist industry, what do you see the local authorities
actually do to reduce and solve crime against foreigners?
Ambassador Hugo Lorenz: To put things in perspective,
Bay Islands has some of the lowest crime rates of any other
Honduran department. But we know that crime has gone up. We
estimate that there are 3,000 US citizens living in the Bay
Islands and this community is growing rapidly. No one will want
to move here if it is not safe. It's in the interest of the
leadership of the islands that they control crime. One of the
ideas is to strengthen tourist police and have them work for
the mayor directly.
B.I.V.: How many murders of US citizens remain unsolved
and is this list growing?
Ambassador H.L.: I don't know the exact number, but in
the last 10 years we had serious crimes against Americans. We
were able to have Ministry of Security create a special investigative
unit to investigate crimes against foreigners. We are very proud
that working with ministry of security we were able to solve
a number of these cases. We always follow up on how these investigations
are going. We want to ensure that if US citizens are harmed
that there is a serious investigation and that guilty people
are brought to jail.
B.I.V.: There were some contentions to the conduct of
the internal elections in the Bay Islands, especially on Roatan
and Utila. Do you have plans to include Bay Islands as far as
elections monitoring in the future?
Ambassador H.L.: I don't have an answer to that, but
what I would say is that Honduras is only one of two countries
in Latin America that holds nationwide primaries. It shows that
you [Hondurans] are pretty advanced in this. Other countries
usually conduct conventions or party leaders choose who the
candidates are, making up their own 'listas.' OAS decided to
send international observers, but for the national elections
there will be a lot more interest. EU plans to have observers
for that and hopefully that will include the Bay Islands.
story / editorial
aisles of goodies
Biggest Supermarket Opens in French Harbour
are likely to change their diet in the coming weeks and months.
On April 17, the biggest food supermarket store on Roatan to date
has opened in French Harbour. The 1,200 square meter facility is
replacing the original Sun Supermarket next door that originally
opened its doors, under the name Eldon's, in December 1988.
Chinyet Associates, with experience in Cayman Islands and Bermuda,
has designed and equipped the new store. A second Sun Supermarket,
of roughly the same size and design, is due to open in September-October
in Coxen Hole behind Petrosun gasoline station.
To fill the large space with food items, Sun Supermarkets has added
another supplier - South-East. South-East has joined Supervalue
supplier and is now the major supplier for the store and runs the
deli and provides daily baked goods. "The first thing I bought
was a chocolate covered doughnut," said Liz Riggs, an American
living on the island. There is organic milk and avocados from US,
papayas from Belize. Prices of some US imported food products are
competitive with many Honduran produce products spelling good times
for shoppers and bad times for Honduran, even some local producers.
The layout, size, signing and thousands of food items are reminiscent
of a US supermarket. "I kind of miss the old store. It makes
me feel like I am back in the States," says Heather Donnelly,
a Palmetto resident. "But this is just great."
According to Eldon Hyde, owner of Sun Supermarkets, the future use
of the old supermarket building has not been decided yet.
of food in the Sun Supermarket French Harbour store.