Roatan’s Beauty, Truth & Wisdom

Driving Buicks To The Moon

If you are living on or visiting the island of Roatan you have undoubtedly noticed the condition of our “highway.” Being a fan of the country singer Alan Jackson a song that comes to mind is where he speaks of the ‘improbability of driving Buicks to the moon.’ Sure does feel like we are actually driving those “Buicks” on the lunar surface. I drove to Oak Ridge a few days ago and, while not great, the roads in Santos Guardiola are 10 times better than the roads in the Roatan Municipality.

The roads in the Roatan Municipality have more potholes than asphalt. Traffic is getting worse and I’ve even seen drivers attempt to navigate around giant in a failed effort not to leave their bumpers behind. It is embarrassing to drive around with visiting friends while explaining to them why, with so many quality attractions for the tourist they have to break their back getting to them.

I say we are at total collapse of infrastructure. Roatan, the biggest tourist attraction in Honduras, has the second worse roads in the entire country. The dubious first place title goes to Copan, the country’s second largest tourist attraction. Ironically, the rarely visited department of Lempira, birthplace of our commander-in-chief has a brand spanking new highway that no one is transiting and an airport where no planes are landing. That doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense.

To top it off, we also have a small-understaffed hospital that is over 20 years old and no serious plan to deal with the trash situation on a long-term basis. But I digress. Opposition Alliance (Alianza de Oposición) have been calling for peaceful marches or protests on Roatan. But what would they be protesting?

Should we be protesting elections fraud, the roads, the garbage situation, corruption or should we be doing more than just that?

But, why haven’t “they” fixed the roads? Last year prior to elections (AKA political promises) I was present at a meeting with the President of our country Mr. Juan Orlando himself, where he announced the creation of a trust fund to finance the new Roatan road. Not repairing one mind you, but a brand new road from West Bay all the way to Diamond Rock and Camp Bay.

They want the golden egg and goose soup

Now we have 30 million Lempiras arriving on Roatan from central government via INSEP with additional funding coming from tourism budget and local funds from ZOLITUR. Another 20 million Lempiras was added to this fund from the INSEP to address the lack of infrastructure on Roatan’s sister island of Guanaja. There I suggested we follow a plan I first read about years ago in an editorial on the pages of Bay Islands Voice where a railway and train system was suggested for public transport. Haha.

Here we are in 2018 with the same re-elected president and still no roads. How much patience should we the people have? How long before the cruise ship industry pulls out? And just for myself: how much longer can the suspension system on my car hold out?

I am tired of reading the online reviews about the poor conditions of the road. I made a comment to a friend recently; we cannot continue to be the goose laying the golden egg for Honduras if they are going to starve the goose. His response was classic: “They want the golden egg and goose soup.”

I don’t have all the answers to these questions, but surely we should ask more of our authorities, and I don’t mean a hand out or some political favors. I am optimistic for the Municipality of Roatan as, at last, we are getting a change in the local government and I, for one, am happy for that change.