Much has changed in the 40 years since The BVI Beacon was born in a small wooden house on Main Street in Road Town.

But one thing that has not changed is the Beacon’s mission.

That’s why we are using this anniversary as an opportunity to reprint our very first editorial, which originally appeared alongside two congratulatory letters in the Beacon’s first edition on June 7, 1984.

Headlined “From us to you,” the editorial lays out big promises and big ideals.

With this community’s support, we have done our best to uphold them for the past 40 years. And when we have fallen short, you have let us know and we have tried to do better.

In a time when fake news is rampant and democracy is being tested across the globe, the values expressed on this page back in 1984 are more important than ever.

As we forge ahead into an uncertain future, we recommit to following them.

Here, then, is our June 7, 1984, editorial in full.


‘From us to you’

After years of social laryngitis, the BVI community is about to find its voice again, within the pages of this weekly newspaper.

The BVI Beacon commits itself to service to the people in and through what US Justice Wendell Holmes once called “the marketplace of ideas,” and to illuminating and charting the course of progress of this island nation we call home.

Consider The Beacon the latest in a long line of prophets who are called upon not only to try to explain our part of the world, but to try to alert the people to danger signals within our society.

Our role is an active one, acting, as we are, both as a community watchdog and as an advocate for the rights of the people we pledge to serve. The Beacon dedicates itself to fair and accurate reporting; to definition, examination and interpretation of public issues.

We promise the people of the BVI a voice within our pages through letters to the editor, guest editorials and commentaries. We offer The Beacon as your forum for reaching the leaders of this land so that they will remain in touch with your views on the government of this country and the policies we should be pursuing.

As we observe the 150th year of manumission from the bondage of slavery, we can think of no greater tribute to the birth of liberty than the inauguration of a newspaper dedicated to the same quest for liberty which our forefathers struggled for so arduously and for so long.

US President John Adams, as far back as 1765, noted that “liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right … and a desire to know; but beside this, they have a right — an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right — to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge: I mean the characters and conduct of their rulers.”

These islands, tiny as they are in size, have the spiritual strength of a Sleeping Giant. Together, let’s attempt to harness this strength to the service of all the peoples of the British Virgin Islands.