From: "LORENZO DEE BELVEAL"
Subject: Fw: Undeliverable: The trashing of Roatan
Date: Wed, 20 Nov 1996 12:03:36 -0600
> From: System Administrator
> To: 'zappedREMOVEpyramid@gmailTHIS.com'
> Subject: Undeliverable: The trashing of Roatan
> Date: mercoledý 20 novembre 1996 17.28
From: "L. Dee Belveal"
Subject: The trashing of Roatan
Date: Wed, 20 Nov 1996 17:04:30 -0600
X-Mailer: Microsoft Internet Mail 4.70.1155
As an old Roatan hand, I take harsh exception to the ever-present
rose-colored glasses with which people bent on selling Honduras tourism
always seem to wear. Roatan, which used to be one of the most beautiful,
unspoiled, pristine islands in the entire caribbean - and I know most of
them - is going down the tubes and it might be too late even now, to save
I "discovered" Roatan in 1967. I stayed on to enjoy, to build Spyglass
Hill resort, to bring the first SCUBA equipment to the island, and to
operate Spyglass Hill Resort until 1981. I personally built the first
roads connecting French Harbor with Oak Ridge, Punta Gorda and Diamond
Rock. I know what I'm talking about.
Roatan supported its 1970 population of 8- to 10,000 people quite
comfortably. But influx of north coast Hondurans has swelled the island
population to some 25,000 people today. Too many people in too small a
space is a recipe for big trouble, and Roatan has big trouble.
The need for building sites, roads and firewood has resulted in most of the
trees being cut down. The loss of trees and other ground cover has
destroyed the potable water aquifer. The water table has dropped like a
rock. Wells that used to provide an abundance of fresh water for 10M
people are now - faced with the demands of two or three times that number,
either dry or contaminated by surface or sub-surface infusion due to low
water levels and over-pumping. Smart people buy their drinking water in
Resort developers with absolutely no understanding or appreciation for the
natural treasures they were destroying, have ruined vast areas of the
shoreline and the tidal plain by dredging. The south side of the island
from Port Royal to West End has been wrecked by blankets of the sand and
silt put into the water by indiscriminate dredging activities.
Raw sewage is still going directly into the sea, as it has forever, but
with the vast increase in population the damage to submarine life via
pollution has multiplied exponentially. As a result, divers and snorkelers
get to share the sea with kitchen garbage and human excrement.
And getting there is not "half the fun." On my last trip to the island, I
had three (3) immigration and customs inspections all in Honduras, and all
in the course of about two hours. The first was in San Pedro Sula, which
is the "official'" port of entry. Then we flew to Laceiba, for another
immigration and customs procedure. Then we loaded onto our plane to
Roatan, where the island customs and immigration representatives had
another go at us. I understand they want the tips, but this is really just
The big game on Roatan these days is land. Arnold F. Morris, an
international fugitive fleeing from a 26-count federal indictment handed
down in Tampa, Florida, first ran to Belize, then to Roatan. He met and
married an island widow, bought a Honduras passport (to avoid capture and
extradition) and went into the real-estate business. Morris is the biggest
real-estate operator in the Bay Islands, and he has burned a bunch of
foreign visitors who did business with him. Roatan has had some pirates
before, if we can believe the history books, but none of them could be
compared with Morris and his Southwind Properties. Incidentally, his son,
Scott, is doing time in the Florida State Penitentiary. He wasn't able to
get out of the country ahead of the law. Meanwhile, his father is finding
0true happiness - and lots of suckers - on Roatan.
My essential point is that Roatan, for all of its bucolic charms, is a
dangerous place for the unwary traveler. People who puff the place as some
kind of latter-day garden of eden are doing a major disservice to those
trusting souls who lack experience traveling and tend to believe everything
they see in print.
In short, the people who check your PAGE to get the "skinny" on Honduras
generally, and Roatan in particular, deserve to be told the truth. But let
me say again, I enjoy your stuff.