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Stories picked from the Headlines
Local TV presenter Shelby McNab felt the first pressures of the upcoming election during a heated political discussion on local news show, HQ TV on Thursday the 18th August.
The debate was ignited by the broadcasting of a controversial video tape filmed by Mr. McNab in La Ceiba the day before.
The tape saw several interviews with residents of barrio San Judas, San Jose, Las Canelas and La Azcona claiming that Richard Del Olmo and his assistant Andrina Muńoz had visited the neighborhood in an effort to persuade people to transfer their votes to Utila.
They alleged that free passages to the island, food and accommodation would be provided on the day before the election in exchange for their voting for Mr. Del Olmo.
“We were approached and offered a free trip Utila with food and accommodation in exchange for voting there” said one of the men interviewed.
“I don’t know how many document transfers were made, I wouldn’t do it, it’s illegal” said Sonia Tosta de Munoz, Voter Registrar, who claims to have been asked by Mr. Del Olmo to carry out the transfers.
Richard Del Olmo, candidate for Mayor, denies all allegations of illegally transferring votes.
“Transfers have been made, but all within the restrictions of the law”, he said.
The transfer of votes is not illegal however applicants must have resided in the area in which they intend to vote for at least six months.
“Previously, voters needed a card from the municipality to make a transfer. Some people had troubles getting the card so I complained and they stopped this system,” said Mr. Del Olmo.
“There is no law that can stop a Honduran to vote.” he said.
The video received mixed responses from the community with many callers phoning in to express their views.
Some were outraged while others believed the tape to be a setup also claiming that Mr. McNab was biased towards the Liberal Party.
“The issue is, is it right for La Ceiba residents to decide who our Mayor is, not which party am I voting for” said Mr. McNab during the heated discussions.
The following evening Mayor Alton Cooper invited reporters from the National Press to discuss the situation.
“Its not about parties, its about the correct way of doing things” said Mayor Cooper.
“The town needs a big explanation” said Mr. Cesar Agusto. Expect increasing political activity as election day, 27th November, draws closer and parties are out canvassing for votes.
A Japanese couple contracted ciguatera fish poisoning while holidaying on Utila in mid August.
The woman was taken seriously ill, suffering from numbness of the legs, severe diarrhea and dangerously low pulse and blood pressure.
“It was pretty bad, she nearly died”, said Dr. John who treated the patient.
The couple had eaten barracuda followed by fish soup the next day.“
He threw up, probably getting rid of the toxins whereas her condition just deteriorated”, said Dr. John.
He warns that August and September bring increased risk of contracting Ciguatera fish poisoning and people should be careful.
It is not possible to tell by observation whether a fish is affected by this toxin.
“The only way to avoid getting sick is not to eat big reef fish at this time of the year” said Dr. John.
The toxin that causes ciguatera accumulates in the flesh of large predatory reef fishes, particularly barracuda.
The disease causes severe neurological symptoms including weakness, temperature sensation changes, pain and numbness in the extremities, often accompanied by diarrhea, vomiting and cardiovascular problems.
“You usually get sick about four hours after eating bad fish and it may last weeks or months”, said Dr. John.
There is currently no cure, treatment is specific to the symptoms the patient experiences. “It is important sufferers seek medical help immediately, prompt treatment is very important” said Dr. John.
The toxin is produced by microalgae Gambierdiscus toxicus that can grow practically anywhere on the reef.
Herbivores ingest the toxin first, they then get eaten by larger fishes who accumulate the toxins over a lifespan in their flesh. The higher the fish is in the food chain the higher the concentration of toxins. “Stick to small or pelagic fish, they are safe”. said Dr. Jacobs, Guatemala.
So far the Utila Carnival 2005 has raised a grand total of Lps.43, 000. The committee is still awaiting money from Caribbean Sea Foods to bump up the total. The funds this year will provide a much needed bodega for staff at the new Health Centre. Carnival logo designed by Fernando Bodden
An American tourist, 56, sustained serious head injuries when his bike collided with a motorcycle on August 30th.The accident happened on the road to the new airport where the patient was rushed immediately to the new Health Centre for emergency care.
Within hours he was flown to La Ceiba for further treatment accompanied by his wife. Dr. John attended to the patient who had already lost a lot of blood through the large, open wound on his forehead as well as dislocating his right middle finger..
Sing for Scuba
Armed with guitars and interesting voices, two tourist boys took up position outside the new building at the dock and set about earning themselves enough money for a diving course. The duo, strapped for cash and eager to get their open water certificates, strummed away merrily to bewildered passers by.
With a sign that read “Help us get a scuba course, Please donate. Thank ‘two hope not to be struggling artists”.
Utilians shine at Miss Honduras
Congratulations to Utilian beauty, Flor Gabourel, for making it through to the finals of Miss Honduras 2005.Crowned Miss Utila at this years carnival celebrations, Ms. Gabourel will compete alongside contestants from all over the country in a ceremony held in La Ceiba on October 3rd.
Joining her will be part-Utilian stunner Lissa Saenz, daughter of Utilian Alan Viera and current Miss Cacao.
New Door for Community Clinic
The wall at Utila community Clinic has been knocked through to create a new door. The new door provides easy access from the street and is large enough for stretchers to fit in. “Its much easier now in an emergency. The patients can come straight in on a stretcher saving valuable time.” Said Dr. John McVay.
Get Fit for Christmas
Fitness fanatics on the island can look forward to the opening of a brand new Gym, offering a full range of exercise machines and free weights. Ocean Fitness, the brainchild of Barbara Kempt and Andy Philips, will be housed in a purpose built centre under construction in Sandy Bay. There will also be a health bar serving juices and salads and a retail shop selling vitamins and supplements.
Thomas Wilkinson Found
For those of you who were aware of the disappearance of Thomas Wilkinson, 19, his worried mother has been in contact from the UK to say that she has finally located her son, safe and sound and on his way to Copan. Mrs. Wilkinson raised the alarm when she failed to hear from her son for several days after he left a message saying that he was out of funds.
She would like to thank all of the kind Utilians for their support and the young American who gave him some money.“ He was stranded on Utila for two days, he wished it was longer!" she said.
Like all of you I have been following the developments of Hurricane Katrina and my thoughts are with those who have friends and family in the affected areas.
This month I would like to congratulate the new municipal police force for their continued hard work, their nightly patrols have made an enormous impact on crime levels.
Since the introduction of the force there have barely been reports of break-ins, tourist harassments or any other petty crimes on the island.
I would also like to publicly thank Troy Bodden and the US Army Corp for all their help this month.
As you know August the 27th marked the official start of campaigning ahead of November’s elections, despite these preparations however municipal work continues as usual.
Utila’s community clinic has had a new larger door constructed to allow patients to enter the building faster and more safely in an emergency. New fans, lighting and wiring have also been installed.
We have constructed a new road to Rocky Point for the new desalination plants. This was made possible by the generous assistance of Troy Bodden who provided the heavy machinery and materials for the project.
Road works continue in the center of town, I hope you are pleased with the progress that has already been made and continue to be as patient as you have been.
The water pressure on the island has greatly improved. This is due to the work carried out by the US Army Corp on the main town wells at the baseball field.
Remember I am always available to discuss any concerns. Please feel free to come and see me with any questions or suggestions and I hope you all enjoy the upcoming Independence Day celebrations.
One more time the infamous party took place at Water Caye on August 6th.
After many days of rain the skies cleared up, “there is a God for us!” Said somebody on the dance floor.
The people flooded Utila from a week before, lots of them from El Salvador where they were having a two-week holiday. This year there was no party boat and the partygoers had to find their way across the sea arranging with one of many fishermen.
As a result many got stuck at the dock overnight since the weather turned rough in the afternoon and captains decided to go back home with their pockets full.
The ones who made it to the tropical paradise were not disappointed. This year the organizers provided private security guards and first class toilets with lights!
The music started from midday and as the sunset settled in, last year’s DJ’s Chaser, Jim Damato, Lu Maya and Balto opened the dance floor to the 600 or so fanatics of the House and Techno music.
“This year only the ones that really like to party came to the Caye” said Luis Maier, mastermind of the Sunjam Party.
Around the sandy main stage there was a fully stocked bar and Mr. G a couple of food stands. The troop of firedancers gathered once again this year to kick possessed dancers out of their mind with their rhythmic display of the fourth element.
As the dance floor turned hot after midnight the rest of the guests showed up, Rafael 3, Erik Prestinary and Mickey Franco made it clear that Central America can produce world class DJ’s.
Along with them a bunch of partygoers that finally made it after spending the night in Utila jumped in hungry for party and fun.
Around 10am the music faded away leaving the dancers no choice but to sit down after more than 15 hours of magic, love and pure party pleasure.
Details and images of this and more events available at www.sunjamutila.com
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