Roatan Confidential

April 1st, 2008
by George S. Crimmin

[private] v6-4-Speaking OutRecently I wrote an article called Honduras Confidential, the results of which took me totally by surprise. Many readers wondered why I considered the Bay Islands in general and Roatán in particular to be so different from the mainland when it came to corruption. So, after reevaluating the situation I concluded that I should do a follow-up.

There was a time when I truly believed these Islands were considerably more honest and lawful than mainland Honduras. Over time however, it appears that we have caught up and are now a mirror copy of the mainland when it comes to corruption. We are now a major part of the overall problem. We have evidently joined the culture of corruption present in the nation. At one time we attempted or at least considered solving our legal problems through the courts. Now, our first option is to consider how many pounds of lobster or shrimp it will take to get what we want. We no longer consider the legal process viable. The honest way is no longer an option. Many of our elected officials have joined the corrupt ways of the mainland. We now have official membership in the corrupt club of Honduras.

For many years I was embarrassed to acknowledge my nationality while abroad; but now, even the Islander label is somewhat diminished. I know of many native Bay Islanders who are in their declining years living abroad and would like to return to spend their final days in their homeland. But they are afraid to do so, because of the corrupt system of government we tolerate.

Well, consider this, pick a representative of your local government, anyone. Consider his or her lifestyle before being elected; notice then where he or she stands today socially and economically. Some have become overnight millionaires.

What have been their major goals? Self-promotion and personal enrichment. What have been their major accomplishments? Self-promotion and personal enrichment. Doesn’t that make you mad? If it doesn’t, then perhaps you are the mental pygmies, proper fools and unrepentant heathens that they consider you to be. While they wine and dine on imported wines, cheese, and caviar in their expensive mansions and luxurious yachts, you fight over the crumbs that they occasionally toss your way.

A source tells me that one prominent local politician brags that he knows the perfect recipe for winning local elections. The formula? Stuff the gluttonous bellies of the imports with fried hogs, and while they gorge themselves with pig fat, provide the locals with enough free cheap booze to keep their minds numb and their reasoning skills to a bare minimum. Pretty simple and very effective.

There is no doubt that the large influx of mainlanders has made a significant difference in election outcomes, to the point of making it possible to purchase an election. This is not only ethically and morally wrong, but also illegal. But I guess “in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” Political corruption is like a disease. In some cases when a disease invades the body, there is no cure and the body dies. The body politick of Roatán is so diseased that there is no cure. We need a fresh start. We need to throw out all the bums! There are still honest hard-working individuals on this island who deserve a chance to govern. When our current elective body meets I would wager that their convocation is, “Come let us Prey!”

Fellow Bay Islanders, many of our elected representatives are some of the most egregious law violators on our island. They appear to be nothing more than economic and environmental predators. We can do better, and for the sake of posterity we must!

Over the years I have encouraged my fellow citizens to believe in the rule of law. Well, what exactly is the rule of law? The rule of law requires that everyone must obey and respect the law: the general public, leaders, and government officials. Unfortunately, many of our current leaders believe that they are above the law, that the law exists for everyone except them. This is wrong and must not be tolerated! Roatán needs a total housecleaning. The only way to correct or change the system is to seek and elect new leadership. Honest, morally upright individuals with courage to enforce the law, but also willing to follow and obey the law.

In selecting our future leaders, let’s remember that a person is rich according to what he or she is, not according to what he or she has. The ability of a person to lead should not be determined by the size of his or her pocketbook. My fellow Bay Islanders, let’s say no to opportunism and corruption.

Let me close with a quote from former U.S. President Calvin Coolidge (1872 -1933): “Little progress can be made by merely attempting to repress what is evil. Our great hope lies in developing what is good.” [/private]

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