[private] The recent police shooting of a local man in West End bring back painful memories for many Bay Islanders. There is no doubt in my mind that racial attitudes and ignorance permeate the dealings between local residents and the police. For too long the make-up of the police department on these islands have resembled an occupation force.
Forty years ago, in the mid 60’s, while attending high school on the mainland I was nominated by classmates to represent my school at an international youth conference. The teacher immediately objected. His reason? People abroad could get the impression that the Republic of Honduras was populated by niggers. And of course, ‘we didn’t want that.’
Let’s leapfrog to the new millennium. A black male student from Roatan attending high school on the mainland is wearing a gold chain around his neck. He is stopped by his principal and told the following: “You blacks love to wear gold chains around your necks, do you know why?” Without waiting for a reply he continues: “Because you are really longing for the good old days of slavery, when you had a collar around your necks, with the appropriate chain attached.” If this is the thinking of the better educated among us, what do we expect from the uneducated?
What happened recently in West End has been occurring for generations and unless the causes are addressed by our leaders at the highest levels of government, this will not only continue, but even get worse.
Is anyone listening or paying attention? What about it Mr. security minister, Mr. attorney general? Can we talk? Mr. President? Anyone?
In the past, the main strategy for dealing with this kind of a problem was to transfer the perpetrator of the incident. Today, we need new and better solutions. Sweeping the problem under the rug will not suffice. We need real solutions to some very real, serious problems. We are tired of trying to deal with leaders that are morally bankrupt and can only hope that current leadership posses the intestinal fortitude to finally confront this problem. [/private]