Roller Coaster Ride Ahead

December 1st, 2006
by Thomas Tomczyk

[private] v4-12-My VoiceImagine all the taxes that you’re supposed to be paying, but probably didn’t. Take that away and add four percent capital gains and you’ll haveā€¦ Bay Islands Free Zone.

At last, the central government decided that it is easier and more profitable to abandon the futile effort of collecting taxes from Bay Islanders and let them pay their own bills.

Still, the most important change could not come from economics, but in how the islanders administer themselves and spend their taxes. Both police and local government are likely to become more independent from the mainland, better trained, recruited locally and more accountable. Considering the lack of adequate police training and understanding of local issues, any change is likely to be an improvement.

The laws and bylaws that have to follow the framework document will almost inevitably have loopholes, blind spots and leave opportunities for abuse. Qualifications and competence of local officials and government will be pushed to their limits as they are placed in the role of determining their own future. The days of blaming the neglectful central government for inaction and incompetence could soon be over.

There are over a thousand foreigners living in the Bay Islands and some of them for decades have been contributing to the archipelago’s prosperity. It is still unclear what the exact criteria for foreigners receiving their Bay Islands resident status would be. Is it their length of stay here, their Honduran residency status, or their business involvement?

The vacuum of skilled and unskilled labor will grow. The growth in construction and staffing of service facilities will require importing of thousands of people to the archipelago. There is a well founded fear of last moment influx of mainlanders trying to make it to the Bay Islands before the census and claim their Bay Islander status.

The landscape of the Bay Islands is already changing rapidly. Nothing until now was slowing these often negative changes or, more importantly, affecting their direction. If the Free Zone status will be able to somewhat control the direction and pace of this growth then that is good. Buckle up and hold on for an exciting ride. [/private]

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