Our premier says we are not broke (good news, if true) and we need to spend money in order to make lots of money. So we are spending a lot to bring in “internationally famed artistes” for a free concert. How will that make money? Has he forgotten the ill-fated John Legend concert to raise funds for the National Parks Trust? It was not free, but it ended up losing nearly $800,000 instead of raising anything. And what happened to the fella responsible for it? Was he sacked? No! Just moved to another department! In the Virgin Islands, that sort of counts for sacking but entails no loss of earnings or pension.
The start of American Airlines flights direct from Miami is good news, but it unfortunately coincided with two apparently unrelated closures of our airport. That must give cause for concern and may mean reconsideration after a trial period.
By all accounts, the planes can bring in 79 passengers but only take out 50 due to runway and weight restrictions. So how do those 29 passengers return? Of course, some of them may be residents. Normally people expect to come and return by the same route, but it looks like eventually other airlines and the ferries may benefit from the deficit. If the flights continue, this situation will pertain for years until we finally get around to expanding the runway, by which time the whole world may have changed
One candidate in the recent election campaign was so enamoured at the thought of this extra airlift that they suggested that the VI could become a home port for one or more cruise ships. Do they even think these ideas through? We would need to airlift in every weekend some 3,000 passengers and airlift the same number out. That would be 43 flights in and 60 flights out. Not to mention providing thousands of tons of food, water and fuel every week. There may also be a need for lots of hotel accommodation to cover delays and so on.
A few years back, there was turmoil here when some 400 passengers and crew had to be flown in (and out) for the Queen Mary 2 cruise ship, which had missed a port for some reason.
Several recent power failures raise another concern. In 2030 the United Kingdom, and possibly other countries, will ban the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars — and the manufacture of them and hybrids by 2035.
Where does this put the VI and other small countries? Eventually, we will not be able to buy a new non-electric car, and there are two major problems with electric cars. They have a limited range, presently maybe 250-300 miles, and they need recharging. Gas stations, if they remain in business, will only be able to install a few charging points. But with limited distances here, most people will recharge at home. This may entail the extra expense of a heavy-duty charging outlet.
With all these cars requiring electricity to recharge, there will be extra load on the power supply, and planning for that needs to be addressed.
The second problem comes later with battery end of life, maybe after 10 years. Lithium batteries are notoriously dangerous for catching fire in cars, scooters and aeroplanes, and they must be disposed of correctly. For us, this invariably means exporting to a recycling centre — something else to be planned for.
The thought of all those dumped cars on the side of the territory’s roads, possibly with dangerous old batteries inside, is awful to contemplate.