I note Verna Penn Moll’s description of the local old-fashioned Christmas tree in last week’s opinion page. She says it was the “inkberry” or “fishing rod” tree, which is also known as the “box briar.” But I think this may have been more common in the United States Virgin Islands.

That’s as may be, although I had not heard of it before, and she is incorrect to say we had one at the Old Government House Museum, where I volunteered from the time it opened in the early 2000s until Hurricane Irma. We had what I have always been told was our fir tree substitute, the flowering stem of the century plant, a species of Agave Americana. This stem has hard yellow bracs rather than flowers, and when dried the bracs were painted, often silver, and decorated with ornaments made from coloured or crayoned paper, usually made by the kids in the family. Unfortunately, a few years ago these plants were almost completely wiped out by some bug and are only just beginning to recover, and mainly on the smaller sister islands.

 

Cryptocurrency

Now, I wonder if the Beacon editor realises the irony of last week’s front page, with side-by-side headlines announcing the cryptocurrency and Claude Skelton-Cline’s new no-bid contract? I was a bit concerned about this new contract, considering we have not yet seen the results of his initial contract as a government advisor.

However, on second thought, he may have redeemed himself and already earned his $144,000: He pointed out at the digital symposium that, despite the premier’s keenness for the idea and the statements by Lifelabs.io that they have the contract in the bag, the government has not yet made any decisions. That is the most sensible thing he has said lately, and it should be a warning to the government to stay out of this scheme. You only have to Google “OneCoin” to see how millions were lost to a scheme by a very plausible lady doctor (since disappeared). That has been declared a Ponzi scheme. There is also doubt about the viability of BVI-LIFE (what a name for a currency, real or digital).

To get into this scheme you presumably have to put up real money in exchange for the “coins.”

 

Head office?

The firm says they are going to establish a head office here, and that they are here to stay. They say that in the event of a disaster with a complete breakdown in power, communications, wi-fi and so on that you can do an “offline transaction.” How? You can only do that with real money. So suppose you had the foresight to print out a copy of your “wealth:” could you take it to the grocery store or the builders’ merchants and get supplies? Could you — blazes! A lot of older people here do not have access to the internet or bank accounts, so how could they join the “gravy train?”

I could pick more holes in this scheme, but government would be wise to heed Mr. Skelton-Cline’s implied warning and steer well clear of these chancers.

 

VG clinic

Another surprise. The Virgin Gorda clinic will not be opening anytime soon. That goes along with the lack of furniture in the repaired police headquarters. And we will not be seeing a new Magistrates’ Court for at least three years. That’s if they remember to order the furniture ahead of time.

We need to see the budget allocations for all these and other proposed projects.


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