A Beaconite is pleased that the government is increasingly tendering contracts, even for minor projects and services. Over the past week alone, the government requested bids for cleaning restrooms on Beef Island and on Jost Van Dyke; for beach maintenance on JVD; and for repairs to the Johnsons Ghut burial ground wall. The Beaconite believes this increased transparency, which appears to have been sparked by the Commission of Inquiry, is an important step toward better governance. Tendering contracts helps ensure that the government gets the best value for taxpayer money. And in the past, successive governments’ reluctance to tender projects has wasted tens of millions of dollars. He hopes the current government and its successors will keep up the good work even after the post-COI scrutiny eases.



Pier park patron

When a Beaconite was having dinner at the Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park recently, she began reflecting on how the space is used by tourists and residents alike. It’s no surprise that when a cruise ship (or two) is in port, the pier is bustling with people. With loud music playing in the background as if it were part of a film soundtrack, families and couples chat amongst themselves while they wander from shop to shop or have a drink (or two) at one of the bars or restaurants. It’s when those ships are not in port that the pier takes on a new life. When the cruise tourists aren’t around — either because a ship hasn’t come to the island that day or because they have already left — the pier is enjoyed by those who live here. After the sun sets, the shops may close, but the music doesn’t stop. The bartenders at the kiosks along the water’s edge keep mixing drinks, and waiters in the restaurants keep serving meals. The reporter appreciates how the pier contributes to the local community, not just indirectly through the tourism business but also directly by the patronage of residents.




Among the more popular arguments about motorcycles in the Virgin Islands, a Beaconite hears none more pervasive than complaints about the noise that can “ring throughout the hills.” Far louder than this racket, however, are the seemingly straight-piped eight- and ten-wheel commercial trucks. (Note: When there is no catalytic converter or muffler through which fumes circulate, that is known as a “straight pipe” exhaust system.) These trucks — usually driven by very young men — tear through Road Town and beyond with a noise level the Beaconite has seen force cruise ship tourists to cover their ears. Unfortunately, there are apparently no engine-brake usage restrictions in populated areas. An engine-brake allows vehicles to slow down without using the brakes. It is also extremely loud. Excess noise while accelerating and decelerating, along with the trucks’ huge weight, should be examined more closely by government before the VI’s deadly roads get an international reputation. Finally, if readers are wondering about the cause of the new gouge in the road near the top of Joes Hill, the blame lies with a trucking company trying to transport an excavator up the mountain last week. The truck, with its Low Boy trailer, failed to make one of the final turns, and the weight of its load pulled the truck’s front wheels off the ground. The excavator (which was held by a single chain) gained an occupant, who started its engine on the trailer and unfolded the arm, exposing its jack-hammer attachment. The operator planted the tip into the road behind the trailer, attempting to anchor the entire rig so the truck could continue to angle itself around the corner. As the driver worked at the wheel, the truck and trailer slipped back down the road inch-by-inch, gouging the road in the direction of the growing queue of cars.