A Beaconite has enjoyed the musical talents of many singers, instrumentalists and dancers who have showcased their work at various ribbon cuttings and holidays over the years. But Tuesday morning, the students from Robinson O’Neal Memorial Primary School absolutely wowed everyone in attendance at the reopening of the Captain Owen G. Harrigan Visitor Centre in Gun Creek, Virgin Gorda. Murmurs ran through the crowd as the young performers belted out the territorial song with a power that animated such familiar lyrics. Kudos to Jhernee Browne, Keshama Courtney, Bianca Farrington and Shamir Smith for their vocal performances, and to Issa Alexander for busting a move with his saxophone to some Adele. Credit is also due to their music teacher, who played supporting guitar. The Beaconite looks forward to even more fantastic showcases to come.
Many residents were likely interested, if not downright shocked, to hear that the Commission of Inquiry report submitted to Governor John Rankin is more than 1,000 pages long and contains over 40 recommendations. As some commentators have noted, if these 1,000 pages consist only of the report itself and don’t include the supplementary documentation, the report would be about five times longer than the Turks and Caicos Islands COI report released in 2009. While it’s encouraging to think that the commission did a very thorough job after taking up so much time and taxpayer expense, the Beaconite asks the public to have pity on those — such as reporters — who will inevitably have to read this behemoth of a document and break it down into digestible bits for the public. She’s looking forward to the task, as the report will no doubt make for interesting reading, but she perceives plenty of late nights ahead.
While reading through a newly released report written last November that details the risks that Covid-19 posed to the East End/Long Look community, a Beaconite was reminded of how glad he is that the disease has been in a sustained retreat in the Virgin Islands. The report was finalised on Thanksgiving Day, shortly before a swift rise in cases once again infused the territory with the anxiety and frustration that accompanied all the spikes before it. In some parts of the world, cases are again rising due to an omicron subvariant, but so far the VI appears to have dodged that bullet. He hopes the roughly 59 percent of the population who have been fully vaccinated, along with people’s general understanding of how to behave responsibly should they become infected, will protect against any future surges. With life getting back to normal, the Beaconite finds it easy to forget just how stressful this pandemic has been. But taking some time to reflect on these earlier stressors makes him even more grateful for the freedoms enjoyed now.
While a Beaconite was listening to the radio recently, she heard the deputy premier mention another option for the territory’s future besides independence — integration. He mentioned that the territory can choose to fully integrate into the United Kingdom if it wants to. That model, he explained, would include having representation in the UK Parliament. Additionally, the minister spoke about the United Nations’ pledge that the world move away from colonialism in every respect. He also touched upon the Commission of Inquiry, stating that such probes are antiquated and colonial, dating¬ back to the 1800s. It will be interesting to see what the COI report says and what the territory chooses to do in its quest for self-determination. The Beaconite hopes that leaders will adopt a long-term view of their choices rather than the knee-jerk reactions that have so often been used by successive administrations.