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British Honduras Refugee Project Awaits Arrival of 80 Families

September 29, 1940
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The projected refugee industrial settlement in British Honduras is awaiting the arrival of its first 80 families, Kalman I. Weisz, director of the project, advised the J.T.A. today . He said houses for the 80 families have just been completed.

All refugee committees in the United States and abroad are cooperating in selection of the families. Applications are being received by the Refugee Industrial Settlement, 165 W. 46 St., New York, or through local committees. Dr. James Bernstein , of the HIAS-ICA Emigration Association , is assisting in selection of families in Europe. Sixteen have already been chosen and will sail for Honduras within the next weeks.

Weisz will go to Honduras to direct the settlement personally. He described the colonization site as having “unlimited” natural resources for manufacture of products which formerly came from Europe. Arrangements for marketing of the products are “more than satisfactory, ” he said.

The site, called Ericatown, is in the highlands of the west-central part of British Honduras near the city of EI Cay o. The colonial authorities have waived the usual immigrant deposit and the settlers are guaranteed full religious , civil and economic rights, with the privilege of becoming citizens after five years’ residence. Tools, equipment and furniture are to be admitted to the colony free of duty. Settlers will be chosen from among those who have no prospects for migrating to the United States or other countries. The project is financed partly by private funds and partly by refugee aid groups.

While special preference will be given to men and women skilled in handicrafts, those experienced in forestry and tobacco growing and persons wishing to learn this work will be considered. The factories will be run cooperatively. English is the official language. The settlers will have their own community.

The climate, although sub- tropical, is termed “one of the coolest in Central America .” The soil in the district is the best in the colony. There are many forests, mountains and waterfalls.

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