Last act of an agave

At roughly 20 feet and counting, the stalk of an Agave missionum in the southeastern corner of Tortola’s Queen Elizabeth II Park is in full bloom. Though the species is often called a “century plant,” that name is deceptive: Few agaves live to be older than their 30s, and they bloom only once in their lifetime. In flowering, this particular plant is presenting seeds to pollinators, thus signalling its pending death, but its base contains residual “pups” which will grow into another plant. Agave in full bloom is a beautiful sight. Below is a strong, defensive and healing plant. Above is a towering stalk and gorgeous yellow flowers. There are more than 200 species of agave. One is native to the Virgin Islands, and another is invasive. A few (though not the ones that grow here) are used to make tequila or mezcal. The century plant currently blooming at Queen Elizabeth Park II — which is in one of several “Tropical Important Plant Areas” scattered across the territory — is the native variety. The Beaconite encourages everyone to check it out in the coming days.


A lovely welcome

Just days after touching down from the mean streets of London, a Beaconite was introduced to how serene the streets of Tortola can be. Wearing a suit and tie (which he soon realised was a “wardrobe malfunction” on a scale with Janet Jackson’s infamous incident at the Super Bowl), he trundled down Waterfront Drive in the burning sun fuelled only by perspiration-drenched Pepsi. He carried a Bobby’s Marketplace shopping bag in each hand as he merrily drifted along the sweltering boulevard, marvelling at the natural beauty before him as the lush green mountains swept down to the turquoise ocean below. Suddenly, a man in his mid-20s appeared in front of the Beaconite and got down on one knee. Slightly bewildered, the reporter surmised that this would probably not be an impromptu proposal as the marriage equality referendum is still some months away. But, intrigued, he could only wonder what would happen next? It turned out to be a delightful surprise. The man gently tied up the lace on the Beaconite’s right shoe (which he was not even aware was loose), flashed a beaming smile at him as their eyes briefly locked, rose, and walked off without saying a word. The reporter murmured, “Thank you” in a slightly incredulous voice. It was a truly lovely welcome to “Nature’s Little Secrets!”



Online events

Government’s practice of posting videos of press conferences and other events on Facebook and YouTube is an excellent way to promote greater transparency, a Beaconite believes. Similarly, the livestreaming of House of Assembly sittings also brings more accessibility to the public: Viewers can not only watch the meetings as they are happening, but they can also view them afterwards and skip to sections of particular interest. The Beaconite finds that she prefers the YouTube interface, and she hopes the government will post all its Facebook videos there in the future as well. She commends the Department of Information and Public Relations, also known as Government Information Services, for its work in producing the video, audio and photography from the government’s functions.