Roatan’s Beauty, Truth & Wisdom

Anger, desperation and fear has taken many islanders to the brink

HHonduran Central government has decided to apply the same draconian “security” measures through the country including the geographically isolated island department of Bay Islands. Roatan Municipality has twice unsuccessfully attempted to relax these laws that shut down almost all businesses on the island and quarantined people in their homes.

After 35 days of isolation and no Covid-19 cases Bay Islanders and Roatanians in particular have grown increasingly desperate. Their perception has shifted from seeing the Wuhan virus as an enemy to seeing the heavy-handed policy of central government as oppressive and indiscriminate. “End the shutdown of local business. We have no virus here. We are all going to be broke when it does come” wrote Herb Morizzi, an American businessman and owner of Pineapple Villas Hotel.

April 20 brought a crescendo of frustration of the island. In Oak Ridge a fuel supply boat was surrounded by locals in pleasure boats and skiffs as they tried to prevent arrival of potentially infected by Covid-19 passengers from Puerto Cortés. In response a Honduran Navy boat attempted to ram the small island vessels. Cortés department is leading the national statists of 46 deaths attributed in Honduras to Covid-19.

In another part of the island taxi and bus driver blocked the streets of Los Fuertes cutting Roatan in half. Dozens of taxis were ceased by the National Police for violating the central government’s decision not to allow for them to work. “This was sure to happen. People are broke, hungry and getting more desperate” wrote Andres Cardona, a Roatan businessman. “Unfortunately look like this is the only thing central government responds to.”

The roughly 100,000 Bay Islanders and thousands of foreign residents of Roatan are left in limbo of if and when restrictions on their constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of assembly, freedom to work, freedom of movement and freedom of worship will be reinstated.