story / editorial
A Race to The Municipal
by Thomas Tomczyk
race for Bay Islands' most coveted political leadership position
is on again. The same main competitors take their place again as
last year: Dale Jackson of the Liberal Party and Julio Galindo of
the National Party. But the Democratic Unification Party (UD) is
posting a candidate that could throw a rod into the spikes of the
election wheel. Elmer Santa Maria, a Patronato secretary and one
of the leaders of the recent street protests, is UD's Mayoral candidate.
So far PINU and Christian Democrat parties have not decided on their
candidates for Roatan mayor. Bay Islands Voice spoke to all three
Roatan mayoral candidates.
Julio Galindo, 65, is the National Party's candidate for
Mayor of Roatan. Galindo has been Roatan Mayor in 1970s
and served as the department's congressman. In 2005, he
lost an election for Roatan Mayor to Dale Jackson and for
the last four years sat as the Roatan Municipality's highest
ranking city council member. The island changed tremendously
in the past four years and Galindo is back again in quite
a different electoral context. He is currently the president
of Bay Islands Chamber of Tourism and sits on the board
of ZOLITUR. Bay Islands Voice spoke to him only a couple
weeks before the June 28 coup and some of the references
in the interview reflect the old, rather then new government
Islands VOICE: Four years ago you said you will not
run for office again. Why did you change your mind?
Julio Galindo: I see things are worse than they were
four years ago and it worries me. We need direction here
and we are completely lost.
B.I.V.: You lost to Dale [Jackson] four years ago.
What are you going to do differently this time to win?
J.G.: [I will] work harder and hope that the people
get smarter. Try to work with young people, with migrating
people. [In 2005 elections] we won West End, Sandy Bay,
Coxen Hole, but lost Barrio Los Fuertes. We are going to
ask them a question if they are better off now then they
were four years ago. I am sure that they are not.
B.I.V.: The cruise ship companies stated that they
would pull out if riots took place again after they happened
in October and November 2008. If the riots took place again
what would happen?
J.G.: Right now we don't know what the cruise ship
industry is going to do. I think the [Zelaya] government
is taking this very cool. I sat with the president [Zelaya],
Minister of Tourism [Martinez], some of our local authorities
and representatives of Royal Caribbean and Carnival. These
[cruise ship] people want a plan about increasing police
force on the island, building them [police] facilities,
expand roads, building a hospital; And they have not received
this yet. Sometime the only thing this [Zelaya] government
wants to do is create instability, it doesn't want to see
progress, but create chaos.
B.I.V.: You lost to Dale four years ago, what are
you going to do differently this time to win?
J.G.: We're in a [slowdown] on the island. We have
a lot of unemployment, [and] we are creating more. If you
don't have investment you can't create labor, and you can't
have investment if you are not stable. We still have a few
cruise ships coming here, but we don't know for how long.
We have lost one of the few labor generating factors that
few look at: the real estate business, people who come to
the island to buy and build property. Construction is where
most cuts were made. [Next year] we are looking at 1 million
[tourist] passengers if everything went right, but we could
lose that in a flash.
B.I.V.: Beyond just the security issues, do you have
a plan to reduce the polarization of different groups on
the island: racial, cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious,
that has build up here over time?
J.G.: I don't think anyone does [have a plan]. I
believe there isn't a problem with people that live here.
The people that you have seen on the streets have been financed
to create that instability that we are living in. We had
some of these guys in jail. There was a process against
these people and we were ordered to turn them loose. Nobody
respects anything and if we don't have the president [Zelaya]
respect our decision, we have nothing.
B.I.V.: The island has grown rapidly over the last
10 years, do you think that people running for office today
are competent enough to represent Bay Islands, and tackle
issues that face them?
J.G.: I don't want to talk about these guys, but
they've been around for almost four years and things have
gotten worse. Everything is growing really fast, but not
in any disorderly manner: the schools, the education, the
public health, the traffic, the roads, it's all a big disaster.
Carnival Cruise line will finish a dock able to handle two
ships, and in Coxen Hole they are talking about doing a
second phase and handling two ships. What are we going to
do when we get four ships on Roatan on one day? We won't
be able to move these people. The cruise ships constantly
are asking us for ICU, intensive care unit. Local people
are dying for the need of this. We are destroying the environment.
There are around 100,000 people on the island, nobody knows
exactly [how many], and we don't have a working sever system
on the island. We are destroying what we have and destroying
B.I.V.: The people who should know how many people
live on the island are ZOLITUR as they did the census.
J.G.: Zolitur has been begging people to register,
but people haven't shown up to do that. The municipality
had to do a census. The tighter things get on the mainland
the worse things get for us.
B.I.V.: You are sitting on the board of ZOLITUR.
What should ZOLITUR do to improve its image?
J.G.: One of the problems was that ZOLITUR wasn't
registering people who came in. They were asking for too
many requirements. We have to register everybody. I asked
people personally: 'How does ZOLITUR offend you.' They would
say: 'I pay one dollar to come here.' So I asked the board
to eliminate that and we are in the process of doing that.
Foreigners and real estate people have a problem with the
4% capital gains tax, but the law has improved because it
was 10% [before], but no one used to pay it. (
lot of people don't have records for things they built years
ago, so we have to appoint people that would go to give
the true value of their improvements. I talked to Pepe [Lobo]
about this and he likes the idea
We have to make Roatan
a [tax] free zone. If we have a place for people to go shopping
and have a law where they would have to stay at a hotel
for two nights before they would go shop, we would have
benefited a lot. People think that this is a [ZOLITUR] law
[is] benefiting rich people only.
B.I.V.: The biggest projects funded by World Bank
have not been used, not opened, or mismanaged: the dump
in Santos Guardiola, sewage plant in Coxen Hole. Is it worth
for these projects to be built if the local mayors won't
incorporate them into their budget?
J.G.: What has happened is that we had not had a
combined effort the way it should be. The central government,
the local government, when these people come in they need
to show the contract [explaining the projects]. This is
the way it needs to be done. We have not had a combined
effort and the only way to do that is with good leadership.
Dale Jackson, 42, overlooks a monthly Municipal budget of
around Lps. 3 million that pays for the garbage pick up, payroll,
black water, water subsidy, hospital subsidy, and school scholarship.
Over the course of the last three-and-a-half years, Mayor
Jackson overlooked the municipal road paving of over 10,000
lineal feet (3 km). He currently overlooks the completion
of the road construction in front of the airport, funded in
50% by SOBTRAVI. According to Mayor Jackson, only 30 days
after getting into office, Roatan Municipality has begun paying
around Lps. 200,000 a month for running the black water treatment
plant in Coxen Hole. It's a high maintenance operation that
reduces the impact on the reef around Coxen Hole and Mayor
Jackson says that more then 50% of Coxen Hole houses now are
connected to the black water system. "We are coming every
day [and] connecting people," he says.
Islands VOICE: Why are you running for office again?
Dale Jackson: Politics is something that will not separate
my friendship with Julio Galindo we created in the last three-and-a-half
years. I will not cross the line to insult or benefit in any
way. When this election term is over I will have less then
when I started. What is important is security, health and
education. Security- we made some accomplishments. Now we
need more independence of taking decisions here. Zolitur has
done a great job of getting that to us, but we still have
to see this get off the ground. We have a great security committee.
We're still one of the 18 departments of Honduras and we are
still under them. But where do I go from here? I will continue
to work along people. We need a lot of social help. We need
to create a better image in our communities if we are to be
a better tourist destination.
B.I.V.: What is your biggest accomplishment, failure
during the last 4 years in office?
D.J.: We had infrastructure that was seriously out
of date: the schools, roads. We lack three schools of the
27 to remodel, or rebuild, or add on classrooms. I've taken
education on like no mayor has ever done in the past.
B.I.V.: But the funds for these schools come from a
national fund [FIHS], municipalities pay for only a portion
of the work.
D.J.: FIHS has not given one penny to this municipality.
I haven't accomplished this with them. There is too much bureaucracy.
We start with a figure [estimate] and when you start with
an engineer there is nothing left [for construction]. Every
school bathroom tile was provided by Roatan tax payers.
B.I.V.: Should the funds for this have come from central
D.J.: I cannot sit and wait when my people are starving
B.I.V.: What are your failures, some things that you
were not able to accomplish?
D.J.: Perhaps not failures, but due to certain laws,
we have two years-and-three-months working on the hospital
project. It's frustrating the way the government works, when
you depend on other people. When we had the matter about the
reconstruction of the Roatan airstrip, we called the president
[Zelaya] down and said we needed a $5.5-6 million grant and
it was granted in five minutes. Setbacks are not a great amount.
The [new] hospital- we've done our part, we've turned the
property over to them.
B.I.V.: You were seen as being supportive, at least
passively, and some say financially, of the protesters in
October and November riots. Is that true?
D.J.: No sir. I've never supported a riot. On the first
one [September 2008], I've never financed a riot. That's dirty
politics, that's not raw politics. The riots with RECO last
year- I saw people of all races, all cultures, and all religions
out there. I saw all Roatan out there represented. I've thought
that there is something that both sides could do. I was accused
because I was acting as a mediator.
B.I.V.: Could you, or should you have provided a security
presence of the Municipal police to safeguard public property
and safety during the riots?
D.J.: We are limited at Municipal level what we could
do legally. Our municipal police is down as far as support.
Before the ZOLITUR came into effect we had a beautiful income
of $1.50 per cruise ship passenger for security issues. That
was then taken over by ZOLITUR. I am not blaming ZOLITUR for
not being there, but they are using issues to where I had
to decrease the Municipal [spending on policing]. This question
should be asked not only of me but other 11 council members.
B.I.V.: You have initiated the biggest single purchase
this Municipality has done in its history: a one million dollar
purchase of a property in Dixon Cove for the hospital and
stadium. Why there has not been a public bidding that would
have ensured a cheaper, flatter, better suited site for these
projects? Why has the entire municipal corporation not been
involved in that purchase?
D.J.: All the documentation is there. This is not true.
I have the authority as mayor to declare a direct purchase.
It's totally legal and it is a good deal. No one at the corporation
was not involved. Everyone knew of the purchase and supported
Its up in value today and I am proud of that. 8.5 acres has
been transferred to the Ministry of Health. The stadium is
a flat area. There will be parking for 500 vehicles - where
else do you have that in Honduras?
B.I.V.: Do you feel you have been getting enough support
from your own Liberal Party in this election cycle?
D.J.: I have the Congressman's [Jerry Hynds] total
support. I am not going to get into raw politics. All I want
is what is good for Roatan.
B.I.V.: Four years ago in your campaign we asked you
about your plans for helping Roatanians addicted to drugs.
You mentioned inviting DARE program to the island. What have
you done as far as social programs on the island?
D.J.: It's a very delicate situation. We are operating
with two drug assistance programs in the country: Teen Challenge
and Casa Victoria. We have three-and-a-half years working
B.I.V.: Roatan society has been polarized more then
ever before: ethnically, linguistically, economically, even
on religious grounds. What will you as mayor do to bridge
D.J.: It all goes back to the schools. I am a firm
believer in education, in preparing a child when he's young
and when he's old. This is a benefit that was planted in his
mind when he was young. Sad to say, at this level certain
percentage of population cannot be changed. We have to live
through this stage and prepare for a better tomorrow. Sometimes
life puts these obstacles in our road to make us think and
realize who we are and where we are in life.
B.I.V.: How do you feel the current crisis will affect
Roatan: cancelled Blue Panorama, desalination plant project.
What would happen if there were street protests during a cruise
ship day? Would that be a nail in the coffin?
D.J.: That would be the burial of the coffin.
Islands VOICE: What makes you different from what Dale Jackson
or Julio Galindo can offer as mayoral candidates?
Santa Maria, 32, is Democratic Unification Party (UD) candidate
for Roatan Mayor. Many islanders think that eventually the
Mayor of Roatan will be Spanish, the only question is how
soon? Santa Maria was born in Atlántida, but for the
last 11 years has lived on Roatan. He was the coordinator
for the FUNDEVI development project in Dixon Cove that bears
his name and is coordinating the construction of an FUNDEVI
affordable housing project in First Bight. Santa Maria is
a teacher at Santos Guardiola High School and Juan Brooks
Elmer Santa Maria: We come from the people (el pueblo) and
we are here at their request. Our main objective is providing housing,
a basic necessity here. (..) We won't offer money and building materials
like other candidates have done day before elections in the past.
We are responsible and won't do it like that.
B.I.V.: Will you be a candidate of Spanish voters, or as well
E.S.M.: We are for everyone and supported for everyone. People
need change. We need tourism and will support tourism.
B.I.V.: You are part of the Committee for the Defense of People,
that organized the street protests and affected the cruise ships not
coming to Roatan. How can you support tourism if your actions damage
tourism image of the island?
E.S.M.: Its not that with the strikes we are against tourism.
You can see that the demonstrations right now are calm and peaceful.
Unfortunately other things have happened in the past, but they did
not come from our leaders. You can see that the country is practically
in a state of revolution and we have had meetings, but we have remained
B.I.V.: RECO is increasing energy rates again. Can we expect
people who can't pay they bills to demonstrate on the streets again?
E.S.M.: Unfortunately authorities couldn't resolve this issue.
It would be different if political leaders and patronatos would meet.
Before we would call the president [Zelaya] and he would come personally
or would send his minister Rixi Moncada [ENEE manager] or Arcadia
[Lopez, staff minister] and they would lower the bills from Lps. 8,000
to Lps. 2,000, like that. We had great help before, but we'll see
what will happen. This needs to be a job for current authorities to
talk with RECO, because people are upset.
B.I.V.: You were in charge of distributing and administering
'la cuarta urna'?
E.S.M.: Other people were in responsible for that.
story / editorial
/ local new s
______________back to top
You Want To Impeach - Do it Right. If you want to Have a
Coup - Seize Control. Honduras Apparently Can't Do Either
one level, it is Zelaya that has already won. He has managed
to begin a radicalization, polarization process in the Honduran
society. With him or without him the process will likely
continue. The Marxist idea of awakening the consciousness
of the working class, is a necessary element of creating
any revolutionary movement and Mel Zelaya has managed to
awake, even create the feeling of being 'exploited,' and
'abused' by the rich impresarios and the imperialists.
That radicalization and polarization process has begun and
will take months and years do define itself and gather in
definition and critical mass. A portion of the victimized,
alienated from democratic process society is likely to embrace
a violent struggle in years to come. The ground in Honduras
is already fertile for this: there is presence of armed
gangs, drug smuggling, the availability of arms, the phenomena
of kidnappings of rich impresarios. The acts of violence
and sabotage against military and government targets have
begun by ministries being occupied.
The civil war, revolution that has crystallized and shaped
the identity of Salvadorians, Guatemalans and Nicaraguans
in 1970s and 1980s, has never come to Honduras and its arrival
was overdue. Hondurans only four years ago were pretty conformist,
content with having a job and electricity. Half of its population
remained illiterate or semiliterate. They made hardly a
receptive audience for leftist ideologues and agitators.
The timing of the coup is as much as anything else related
to winning local and presidential elections. Many municipal
and some congress candidates have involved themselves with
the 'La Cuarta Urna' making them eligible for criminal prosecution
and disqualifying from running in the November elections.
Instead of making an example of how an autocratic, disregarding
the constitution president can be removed from his post,
Honduras showed its incompetence to the entire world. The
cost of this fumbling will take years to access.
I say if you want to impeach: follow the procedure. If you
want to do a coup: do it right and neutralizes the target.
Limit fallout from removing the top executive and don't
wash your hands, and dump your responsibilities on a neighboring
country. Just like any other country, Honduras is responsible
for treating and prosecuting its criminals.
In the end, Hondurans deserve what they got. Despite loud
lamentations and blame, they are not victims of Hugo Chavez,
the USA or CNN. They are victims of themselves. They chose
to elect Mel Zelaya as their president and they also chose
to not remove him properly and, which is just as important,
without the 'perception of following rule of law.'
never produced a Telenovela until the June 28 coup captivated
the Latin audiences across the hemisphere. The only more
watched drama at the time was the death of Michael Jackson.
This Honduran drama was entirely man made: no need for hurricanes,
floods or earthquakes. Hondurans brought themselves to their
needs. The slow moving 'Hurricane Mel' is likely to cause
as much damage as Hurricane Mitch did and the event is likely
to continue at least until the November 29 Honduran elections,
and possibly untill the January 27, 2010 government transition.
As tempers fly, two separate issues have been fused in the
minds of many. Whether President Zelaya was a good or bad
president, or person, and whether his ousting was done correctly.
Answering one question in one way, doesn't mean automatically
answering the other in the same way.
All three branches of Honduran government failed to uphold
a rule of law and steered the country towards another type
of totalitarianism. The army with congress' approval shut
down all national sources of media opposition and attempted
to portray themselves as a saviors of western hemisphere
from communism. In fact military and congress were disguising
their own incompetence, and internal squabbles that prevented
them from impeaching the president in a lawful manner, or
even follow the order of arrest from the supreme court.
To make matters even more interesting complicit in the coup
and attempting a cover up is part of Honduran society itself.
For a long time Zelaya was useful and showed himself to
be far from one dimensional. Just in the Bay Islands, he
received wide praise and applause: for putting first Bay
Islander (vice-minister of Tourism) ever in the cabinet,
for supporting Bay Islands Freeport status, for giving permits
for Carnival and Royal Caribbean docks, for bailing out
RECO when the islander board ran it into the ground, etc,
etc. Local politicians campaigned with him, used him and
often got exactly what they wanted: political support, media
exposure, permits and funds. All that is now forgotten and
many of the same Bay Islanders have conclusively and unequivocally
linked Zelaya for giving too much support to March rioters.
Zelaya is now just a bad, bad communist.
story / editorial
/ local news
Telenovela Nightmare by Thomas Tomczyk
Coup Disrupts Business on the Bay Islands, its Repercussions Likely
to last for Many Months and Even Years
34-member Organization of American States (OAS) in a 30-0 vote,
decided to suspend Honduras, refusing the Micheletti government
the right to leave OAS, which they attempted.
US policy, while hard to accept for some, is quite simple. President
Obama said that he supports the return of Zelaya, despite him strongly
opposing American policies. "We do so not because we agree
with him. We do so because we respect the universal principle that
people should choose their own leaders," Obama said.
In the US some Republicans have voiced concern over the Obama administration
rush to side with likes of Raul Catro and Hugo Chavez. "It's
clear that the people of Honduras were defending the rule of law,"
said Senator Jim DeMint (R).
Nobel Laureate and President of Costa Rica Oscar Arias agreed to
mediate talks between president Zelaya and de facto president Micheletti.
As President Zelaya flew to Washington to meet with Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton, the Micheletti government went on the offensive.
Enrique Ortez Colindres, Honduras' de facto foreign minister said
that El Salvador "is so small that it can't even play football
in," and accused President Obama of not knowing "nothing
about anything" and at least three interviews called the US
president "el negrito del batey" (a little black man from
a sugar plantation).
The effects of the coup on the Bay Islands were felt immediately.
Dozens of Honduran soldiers were posted at Roatan airport, Utila
and Guanaja landing strips in case President Zelaya would decide
to return to Honduras via Bay Islands.
On June 29 US Embassy advised against any "non essential travel
to Honduras," and tourists took heed. A week after the coup,
the Blue Panorama charter flights from Rome were suspended after
all European Union ambassadors withdrew from Honduran in protest
for the coup. HM Resorts, Roatan's biggest hotel network had to
close down two of their hotels: La Sirena and Paradise Beach Club,
and fire personnel.
Both pro-Micheletti and pro-Zelaya groups organized demonstrations
in Los Fuertes and Coxen Hole. On July 1, the pro-Zelaya supporters
organized a march with around 70 supporters walking from the airport
to Roatan Municipality. The July 3 pro-Micheltti 'Peace March' became
by far the biggest event with perhaps 2,000 people attending. Still,
neither Governor Arlie Thompson, nor congressman Jerry Hynds, nor
Roatan Mayor Jackson showed up to the march.
While the organizers personally invited protestant and evangelical
church leaders, the Catholic priest in the Bay Islands was not invited
as he was perceived to be siding with the 'other side.' "Originally
we decided to not protest against Zelaya, but it turned out that
way," said Fernando Santos, a local business owner, who along
with vice-mayor Delcie Rosalas organized the event.
On Utila, the carnival organizers postponed their annual July Carnival
and the island hotels remained virtually empty in what is usually
a backpacker high season. The true affects of hotel cancellations
wont be felt until about three months after the coup as tourists
who don't want to lose their reservation money continue to come.
Sally Bowen, owner of West End Coco Lobo hotel, has seen a noticeable
decrease in reservations. "For two weeks we hadn't had a single
inquiry," said Bowen, who had some guests postpone their visits
after the coup.
front row of the 'peace march.'
true Central American political telenovela unfolded in the weeks
following the June 28 coup d'état. President Mel Zelaya attended
meetings at OAS, UN, ALBA and gained international support and commiseration
from international community.
Honduras united the international community more then global warming
did: everyone agreed that the ousting of president Zelaya was an
unlawful coup. Honduran authorities in power asked for an Interpol
warrant which for president Zelaya's arrest. De facto president
Micheletti announced he would arrest President Zelaya if he returned
to the country, then had an about turn. When president Zelaya announced
and attempted to return to Honduras on July 5, his plane was refused
landing permits, and trucks were driven on the runway and Toncontin
International airport was closed for 48 hours.
Protester were shot dead by military and police guarding the Tegucigalpa
airstrip from thousands of pro-Zelaya demonstrators who wanted to
see their president back. As this was taking place the de facto
president Micheletti warned of "Nicaraguan troops maneuvering
at Honduran border."
Honduran army raided the offices of radio and TV stations loyal
to Zelaya, shutting down their signals. Honduran daily 'El Tiempo'
had been prohibited to broadcast information about the coup and
Canal 11 and Channel 8 were shutdown immediately following the coup.
On Roatan, Island Cable, a cable provider to the majority pro Zelaya
Latino community of Los Fuertes has suspended CNN en Español
channel for over 30 hours of signal directly after the coup. Honduran
media largely "slanted coverage" to favor Micheletti government,
said Carlos Lauría of the New York based Committee to Protect
In Honduras, the country's new leaders, the security forces and
the clergy argued that Zelaya's removal had legal justification
the rest of the world does not understand. Micheletti government
investigations produced evidence of Zelaya's government corruption,
indiscriminate spending, even Zelaya's ties to drug smuggling with
"Venezuelan help." Honduras' Catholic Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez
Maradiaga has been involved in lobbying for implicating Zelaya in
As Zelaya quickly lost ability to govern inside Honduras if he returned,
the Micheletti government never gained an ability tu govern on an
international stage. On July 7, US suspended Military aid to Honduras
($16.5 million), and several development aid projects ($1.9 million).
Another $180 million in US aid is at stake, and threat of sanctions
loom in the background.
European Union has suspended all its aid to the country ($80 million),
including a desalinization plant project on Roatan. The World Bank
and the Inter-American Development Bank have frozen credit lines.
The Cuban government announced a withdrawal of 143 professionals
working in the country.
at the Helm
Authorities Meet New Tourism Minister
Bonilla, Vice Minister of Tourism, said that she did not know
why the ex-minister Martinez "decided not to continue
to work" with the Micheletti government. After the June
28 coup only four ministers were changed, but gradually all
were replaced by de facto President Micheletti.
While Honduras continues to struggle in an internal and international
crisis, Americans suggested hiring Hollywood stars and marketing
studios to change the image of Roatan. "The news cycle
is 96 hours. Let's forget about what happened on June 28,"
said Dan Taylor, an American investor. Several Americans criticized
US government policy towards Honduran crisis and foreign media
Several businessmen from Roatan announced travel plans to
meet with US Ambassador Llorenz and asking him if it was possible
to exclude Roatan from a country wide travel alert warning
Americans against non-essential travel to the country engulfed
in "unstable political and security situation."
"We're going to see if our government won't get its head
out of its ass," said Russ Summerell, one of the group
On July 24, another group of American businessmen travelled
to Tegucigalpa to meet with Florida Congressman Connie Mack
who supports the Zelaya ouster and sees Obama's policy towards
Honduras as wrong. The Honduran crisis has held up appointment
of two officials to State Department.
Benitez speaks to the foreign community. Julio Galindo, Mayor
Dale Jackson, Vice-Minsiter Paola Bonilla, Minister Anna Abarca,
Governor Arlie Thompson, Police Chief Julio Benitez.
Two hundred foreigners gathered at the Fantasy Islands to
meet Honduras new tourism minister, Anna Abarca. While not
a good English speaker, Abarca did serve for around two years,
2000-01, as tourism minister under the President Flores.
Month, Another American Shot Dead
and Foreign Community Show Little Interest in Curbing the
On July 18, Gary Conly, 53, an American businessman was shot
at his West Bay home. Conly, a developer of Mar Vista Bay
housing community in West Bay, was found dead at his home
where he likely bled to death while waiting for help. He was
shot in the face, but managed to email for help to several
of his friends. "Help; shot," said the message emailed
by Conly before the American died.
His body was found already cold, his home ransacked, robbed
and his car missing. Two days later his truck was found in
Coxen Hole stadium road. On the same day as Conly was killed,
two people were killed in a shootout in Spanish Town neighborhood
of Coxen Hole.
Conly, who lived on Roatan for seven years, is a fifth foreigner,
and a fourth US citizen to be killed on Roatan in nine months.
Arrests in only two of these cases were made.
In a meeting at Fantasy Island between 200 foreigners and
several security officials, local government and minister
of tourism the murder of Gary Conly was mentioned in passing
only. Julio Benitez, Bay Islands Police Chief, said that Bay
Islands are the safest department in the country and foreigners
are safe here. "Everyone needs to take care in which
company they keep," Benitez said, adding that there are
less than before, around 100, police assigned to the Bay Islands.
With holiday leaves, according to Benitez, the active police
force does not surpass 60.
story / editorial
Cay is Mahogany Beach
July 20, 132 days remained to the opening of the Carnival's Mahogany
Bay cruise ship terminal. "We are going to stay here for many
years. We are going to stay here for ever," said Giora Israel,
Carnival's vice-president of strategic planning to a town audience
at the Outreach Ministries in Coxen Hole.
According to Israel in 2003 Carnival made only 11 calls on Roatan,
and in 2008 80% of all cruise shippers on Roatan will disembark
Carnival ships. 520,000 passengers are expected to disembark at
Mahogany Bay in just the first year of operation scheduled to begin
in November. By 2010 Roatan is projected to be second largest, after
Cozumel, cruise ship transit port in the Americas.
Already, between May 1 and November 1, the Caribbean slow season,
Carnival ships bring 98% of cruise shippers to Roatan, that spend
on average $82 on the island excursions. "You are our salvation
in this current situation," told the Carnival guests Governor
the meeting: Giora Israel, Congressman Jerry Hynds, Anna Abarca Tourism
Minister, Vice minister Paola Bonilla, Governor Arlie Thompson, Mayor
Dale Jackson, Julio Galindo (CANATURH-BI).