The Genes of the Buccaneers

April 1st, 2007
by Alfonso Ebanks

[private] v5-4-Our IslandsA few decades ago, just before the fishing industry was well established in these islands, a change began taken place among our people. The folks were no longer satisfied with scrounging a living out of the land. This change was most notable in the mentality and attitude of our all our young people. The youngsters were breaking with tradition and voicing their opinions and setting goals for themselves.

The young men dreamed of getting jobs and earning wages instead of trying to survive by selling salted fish, copra and blue crabs. The young women dreamed of a different life than the one their mothers led, where being pregnant was the existing state of affairs and hand-me-down clothes were the norm.

It was as if a silent collective decision was made to better our lot by looking for opportunities to improve ourselves. For us there was only one place to look to because then, as it is today, the United States of America was the place to go to look for a better life. A lot of our young men had gone north during the World War II and most of them had not returned. Some of them died, some were sick, but the bigger percentage of those men decided to take advantage of the opportunities offered to them by the country they had so valiantly served as merchant marines and sometimes as combat soldiers.

About ten years after the war those expatriates were well established in their new country and they would be the sponsors of the huge migration that took place in the late fifties and early sixties. Young people from all parts of Guanaja left by the droves, but the area most affected by this huge exodus was part of the south end of Bonacco town, a place called Hog Cay.

From this place almost all of the young folks between the ages of sixteen and twenty five left and in some cases, whole families immigrated to the states.

In the last 20 years a few of us would come back to Guanaja. Some would stay and some would eventually end up going back to the US. Only now are some coming back seeking a simpler life now that they are retired.

Within 10 years after the migration of the fifties and sixties, the population of the island began to increase by giant leaps. This was caused by a migration of people from the mainland. Some of us now see the impact of this new migration, especially those of us that are finally now returning home after being away for so long. This is evident whenever there is a public gathering of any kind, on the streets and especially in the school yards of the town. It is difficult not to notice that we are going backward fast.

Bonnaco is slowly being destroyed by the cultural erosion from within and it is mostly because of the neglect and apathy. Our new citizens are a numerous and hard working group and they are here to stay. Most of them still call somewhere else home because in their souls they do not carry the fire of the pirates, nor do they carry the genes of the Buccaneers. [/private]

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