The Light of Day

June 1st, 2006
by Alfonso Ebanks

[private] v4-6-Our IslandsDuring the last week I had opportunity to visit the three largest cities and a couple of smaller towns in Honduras. During my stay on the mainland there was only one topic on the lips of the people and that was the changes made to the clock by the President of the Republic.

Of all the comments I overheard concerning the change of time, there was never a favourable word mentioned. Everybody seems to have forgotten about the high cost of feeding our families and the exorbitantly high prices we are paying for gasoline and other fuels.

At a football game between the two most popular teams in the country the folk were talking about the time change and even the commentators of the game had a lot to say about the distress placed on the people by the change in time. People griped about having to get up in the wee hours of the morning and about losing that extra hour of sleep. Others complained about it still being dark and about the possibility of being mugged in the darkness. The real ignorant people swore it was some political trick being played on the country by the Liberal Party.

To all this I say rubbish. I believe it is a genuine effort to save energy by saving fuel because 70% of the country’s electrical power is being produced by diesel powered generators.

Daylight saving time is not a new idea; it was jokingly proposed in an essay by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 and was seriously considered by British builder William Willet in 1907. The USA implemented daylight saving time after World War I but it was not a uniform practice in all states. During World War II the US Congress passed a law that set the clocks ahead one hour in all time zones for the duration of the war.

After the war, daylight saving became a controversial subject, mostly with farmers and also with general transportation, the latter was because of different systems used in different states. It was not until 1966 that the US Congress enacted the Uniform Time Act, which established a system of uniform daylight saving time through out the entire country.

In Honduras we have only one time zone and what the central government dictates is law, so we should be able to make this scheme work without too much trouble. All we have to do is convince the people that there is no evil intent and that our bodies will adapt to a time change in just few days.

For those that think they are getting up earlier in the morning then those people should get to bed earlier at night. Everybody must forget about old time and new time. Just set your clocks ahead and let’s try to make this thing work.

In my hotel in Tegus I asked the concierge what time the cafeteria would be open and was told that it opened at 6 PM, it was still closed at 6:30 and then I was told that the hotel was still using the old time and this was four days after the change had been implemented. As for myself, I think the time change is great because I leave my house after the sun has risen and returns before sunset. Before the change I had to negotiate the mile or so of rough water between the town and my house, in darkness. [/private]

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