A Beaconite has experienced plenty of frustrations while sitting in the Labour and Immigration offices when she could have been at work. She is not the only one. Some of her friends have been enduring the process for many more years than she has. So she was very glad to hear that starting today more than 20 pilot companies will be testing out the prototype of government’s new electronic work permit system. According to Vincent Wheatley, the new minister of natural resources, labour and immigration, over the next three months the businesses, representing a cross-section of industries in the territory, will experiment with submitting new work permit applications online with their supporting documents, such as medical and police records and passport photos. For now, applicants will still have to go into the office to pay fees, but “Phase Two” will include online payments and the ability to process renewals as well as new permits, according to government. Premier Andrew Fahie called the testing initiative part of the new government’s commitment to “do business more efficiently and get feedback from stakeholders before the system goes live.” The Beaconite, who has heard such promises before, is sceptical but hopeful. For many years, Immigration and Labour weren’t even under the same ministry. Now they are, thanks to the new government. Other politicians have suggested that the Labour Department should be more than just a work permit distribution centre and start to focus extra resources on finding jobs for the unemployed in the territory, which could happen if paperwork is reduced. This could also be a welcome move. Either way, it’s time.
On the water
A Beaconite’s first taste of sailing in a regatta has left an unquenchable thirst for more time in the open ocean. She was lucky enough to grab seats on a press boat and a racing boat during the BVI Spring Regatta. Watching crew sit together along the edge of a boat was fascinating to witness, and being able to actually get involved was an experience in itself. The ocean is drawing her in more and more with each new experience. Next, she will have to go snorkeling or scuba diving or even surfing. The reporter loves sports and competition, as well as having loads of fun. Sometimes she plays basketball at Cedar International School and sometimes she does squats and lunges on the shores of Nanny Cay. She loves adventure and looks forward to finding more and more places to enjoy the territory and test her physical abilities.
Doing her job
As someone who came into journalism after studying human rights, sees reporting as a force for good in the world, and generally tries to centre her life around being a good person and making a positive impact in the world, a Beaconite sometimes struggles with the confrontational aspects of her job. She often finds herself insulted and belittled while doing routine reporting and although she knows that this is part of the job, it’s still difficult trying not to let it affect her. The fact is that holding truth to power and accountability reporting does not earn acclaim from those in power. She tries not to fault the subjects of her reporting too much. She knows that everyone has their own struggles, anxieties, loyalties and responsibilities, and that often they are just doing their job. She just sometimes wishes they realised that she is just doing hers.