Straight Talk or Else

July 1st, 2008
by George S. Crimmin

[private] v6-7-Speaking OutFinally I can say wholeheartedly: Score one for the locals. I read with great interest the article by Pastor Rudolph Abbott published in the December issue of BIV in which he emphasized the unkept promises of our local politicians and the preferential treatment given to the island elite. He also touched briefly on the privatization of some beaches.

The Honduran constitution seems to imply in article 107 that all beaches are public. However, this article also declares that foreigners are not allowed to own beachfront properties. How enforceable is that? With more and more gated communities springing up all over the island, some with beachfront, more and more beaches are becoming private and inaccessible to the public. If this continues, soon there will be very few beaches available to the general population.

I have been writing an editorial for BIV for two years now. While it has been an exceptional experience, I sometime wonder if it has had any impact at all. Is anyone paying attention? Does anybody care? Is it worth the effort? It seems to me that my fellow Bay islanders are totally oblivious to what is going on around them. It is good to know that at least one other individual is conscious of the rapidly changing landscape. Kudos to Pastor Abbott for a truly stimulating and insightful article.

I have traditionally operated under the premise that if one individual is willing to stand up for what is right, that would encourage another, and another, until you have an entire community standing shoulder to shoulder. Recent events have sorely put this premise to the test. I cannot stress enough that we are outnumbered by the influx of mainlanders over the past couple of decades, to the point of no longer being able to control our own destiny. Yet, I do not sense an urgency or serious preoccupation among the locals by this drastic turn of events. This situation has been created in part by the actions of greedy local politicians in their attempt to win elections with imported votes. We have no one to blame but ourselves for our current state of affairs. No excuses! We said and did nothing to stem the tide. Besides, we continue to elect the same people, certainly individuals with the same mentality as those who started us down this ruinous path. Now, let me ask you, do you realize that if a charismatic mainlander were to emerge and run for public office, he or she could control your destiny? Are you fully aware of what this could mean for your future, and the future of your descendants?

You had better wake up and enter the realm of reality very soon; your future as well as the future of your offspring may be at stake. Everything that we hold dear is disappearing rapidly. This past summer during the fishing tournament in West End there was of course a celebration. As the various floats passed by, one by one, they were all introduced?in Spanish! English, supposedly our official language was not used at all in any situation. Doesn’t this cause you concern? Are our local officials so lacking in judgment, concern, intestinal fortitude, and common sense, that they totally overlooked this breach in etiquette? Or are they just too ignorant and simply do not care? I believe it is the latter. Are we no longer proud of our heritage? Are we content to slowly fade out of the picture? Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say slowly fade into oblivion.

My great-grandfather was a British citizen. My grandmother was born on Roatán in 1875 and lived there until her death in 1979. She provided me with invaluable information regarding our historic and cultural past. She passed on her encyclopedic knowledge of the history of the Bay Islands to me. Many of the facts that I share with you in this column were provided to me by her.

Today, most of our customs, traditions and values have been abandoned or misplaced. Our leaders in self-interest have apparently sold us out and have sought membership in the corrupt club of Honduras. Now I ask you point blank, are you content to become nothing more than a facsimile of mainland Honduras? Or do you, like I, desire to maintain our separate and unique identity as Bay Islanders, with our distinct traditions, customs and values?

I implore you, talk to me, and let me hear from you! It is not easy to continue to swim against the tide. I am mindful of the old adage: “Remember the banana?when it left the bunch it got skinned.” I am also fully conversant that for the most part we are not dealing with the cream of the crop, but in many instances, the bottom of the barrel. There are basically four types of individuals: First, there is the man who knows, and knows that he knows. He makes a very good teacher, you can learn from him. Second, there is the person who knows, but knows not that he knows. He is asleep, and we need to wake him up. Third, there is the man who knows not, and he knows that he knows not. He is usually a very good student. You can teach him. And fourth, there is the man who knows not, but knows not that he knows not. You cannot reason with him because he is ignorant. It is best to avoid him! The British author Joyce Cary wrote: “It is the tragedy of the world that no one knows what he doesn’t know-and the less a man knows, the more sure he is that he knows everything.” Sounds familiar?

My fellow Bay Islanders, we are at a point where we are not completely guided by instinct, but neither are we totally guided by reason. Quite a dilemma, wouldn’t you say? I welcome your comments. [/private]

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