Roatan’s Beauty, Truth & Wisdom
The two candidates in Roatan’s CAH elections: Breisy Banegas and Alejandro Tugliani at the voting location in Coxen Hole.

Bay Islands Attorneys Vote

On March 9, the Bay Islands chapter of Attorneys conducted their elections for Colegio de Abogados de Honduras [CAH] presidency’s two year term. This is the second largest guild association in Honduras. Only the teachers Union has more members in Honduras. The College of Attorneys traces its roots to 1916. Currently there are 27 CAH chapters in the country, and 36,000 attorneys are part of the CAH paying the association’s Lps. 6,000 annual dues. There are also several thousand Honduran lawyers who are not part of the CAH which are among the country’s second most numerous guilds, right after the teachers union.

The favorite to win was the Patria y Justicia [Fatherland and Justice] movement, headed by Gustavo Solórzano. “He is a personal friend of mine, we were classmates in Law School,” said Alejandro Tugliani, who ran on the FJ ticket in Roatan. “There are two philosophies – the collective interest of the chapter and personal interest of everybody. I represent the collectivity.”

The vote followed the February 3 internal vote within the movement. “Two years ago it was more friendly, this was more hostile,” remembers Tugliani. “I think the other side is a bit self-motivated. (…) There was a lot of political interference.”

CAH is a political entity, as it proposes 15 candidates for the Honduran Supreme court every seven years. The CAH’s power to appoint candidates for the Supreme Court then has tremendous command, as the Supreme Court appoints nine appellate judges, 66 first instance courts, and 325 justices of the peace. “Some people [within CAH] have political motivations,” said Tugliani.

The CAH Roatan began in 2012 and there are currently around 250 attorneys in the Roatan CAH. “We are a small chapter, but strong,” said Paula Bonilla, running as second vocal in the Vindicator Democratic Front.

Officially, four movements took part in the primaries and three of them formed an informal coalition under the Frente Reivindicador Democrático [FRD] umbrella. “We started late, but we have them sweating,” said Paula Bonilla. “We are winners. That is our joy, that is our pride.”

Two years ago it was more friendly, this was more hostile.

“I worked at the supreme court of justice for 12 years,” said Breisy Banegas, who has been residing on Roatan for two-and-a-half-years. “Now I am “Juez de Letras” in the Bay Islands.”

The winner needed 50% of the votes plus one. After the voting closed at 5 p.m., the votes reflected 129 cast for Alejandro Tugliani and 58 for Breisy Banegas. “Ever attorney who was on Roatan did vote,” said Tugliani. “I am very happy that we inspired everybody to come,” said Tugliani.

In the national elections, Gustavo Solórzano ended up winning. His competitor, Karla Alegria, national leader of the FRD came in second. She was offered the position as vice president.

After just 12 years of existence, the CAH Roatan chapter is gaining influence at the national level. Bay Islands is a place where big real estate deals are done, and some sizable companies on a national scale are based: RECO, BIP, Galaxy Wave, and Sun Corporation to name a few.