Ban the ban?

The Virgin Islands is among a dwindling number of countries and territories worldwide that continue to ban alcohol sales during Good Friday. Last year, after much predictable debate about the separation of church and state and whether it was still a “Christian society,” Ireland repealed its 91-year-old law hindering booze sales on that day. Australia and New Zealand also have various types of liquor sales bans on Good Friday. In the Beaconite’s home country, the United States, each state makes its own laws, and not many continue the practice. Although the Beaconite was in the VI last Easter, she didn’t go into any stores on that day. This year she did, noting that it seemed like a lot of work for store employees to wrap elaborate plastic caution tape around all of the shelves bearing alcohol, only to take them down the next day. And granted, there are exceptions for “hotels and clubs,” which of course probably ensures that pesky religion won’t affect tourists’ ability to knock back a few bushwhackers. Of course, nobody died for the inability to buy a six-pack on Good Friday, and it’s not the Beaconite’s place to sound off on this issue. But, as the territory grapples with other pressing issues that sit at the intersection of culture and religion, such as same-sex marriage, another look is probably inevitable anyway.



Si, hablamos Español

A Beaconite has been putting her Spanish skills to the test by trying to report on the Venezuela and Dominican Republic communities in Tortola. She was graciously invited to a Dominican baseball game several weeks ago by the Beacon’s newspaper deliverer and was heartened by how gracious and welcoming everyone in the community was to her. Most recently she spent some time with some “Venezolanos” and had one of the most thought-provoking conversations she’s had in Tortola about Nicolas Maduro, the political and economic disaster in Venezuela, and the ensuing migration crisis. Hearing about the human impact of a national news story is the reason she got into journalism in the first place. She’s astounded at the bravery and sacrifice it takes to leave behind your country, family and everything familiar to take a risk in an unknown place. So far everyone has told her how grateful they are to be in Tortola where it is peaceful and safe. She’s very appreciative of everyone who has taken the time to share their stories with her, and to share them very slowly so that she can understand. She’s grateful to learn so much from them.



Rock iguanas

He made his way to a fruit, one foot then the other, slowly turning his head and then quickly snatching it up sideways. He was too busy eating to realise how close a reporter had gotten to him. Is he a he? This reporter is no expert. But once this iguana gave up on the fruit (maybe due to his limited neck movement or to the reporter’s proximity) he took a small step away and lifted his tail up. “Be careful,” she was told. The tail is the iguana’s weapon and it could do significant damage. Fascinated but respectful, the reporter slowly stepped away, grinning at the chance encounter during a recent visit to Guana Island. Though rock iguanas are found throughout the Caribbean, the Anegada rock iguana is the largest land animal native to the Virgin Islands. It is a critically endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. Its population is estimated to be between 200 and 300 left in the wild. Scientists and conservationists have attempted to introduce the rock iguana on other islands, like Guana, where they’ve reproduced successfully. Other islands include Necker, Little Thatch and Mosquito islands. Fun fact: Feral cats are one of the main threats to young hatchlings.