The Virgin Islands has been lucky in recent days as it saw near misses from two tropical storms. Nevertheless, there was some heavy rain and wind, and a Beaconite noticed some downed tree branches near her house. Beaconites hope the storms will serve as a reminder to everyone to prepare now the possibility of a major storm if they have not already done so. There is still activity over the Atlantic Ocean, and the territory is only now entering the height of hurricane season. Over the years, Beaconites have noticed a tendency for the community to get complacent as the season wears on with no major storms. But residents need only think back to Hurricane Irma to remember how quickly hurricanes can become deadly. To prepare, everyone should stock up on food, water, and emergency supplies. They should also make sure their homes and business premises can be secured quickly and easily if an unexpected storm approaches, as well as taking all other precautions. There is much wisdom in the old adage, “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.”
Producing a smile
A Beaconite is thrilled to see all the amazing produce coming up this time of year. Guinep is one of her favourite seasonal treats, and she was thrilled to pick up a giant bag for a dollar at a nearby pop-up produce stand, as well as some fantastic mangos from Carrot Bay. She happily remembers the joy and only slight embarrassment of entering a mango speed-eating competition during last year’s August Emancipation Festival celebrations. The reporter hopes everyone has the chance to enjoy some of the territory’s fabulous produce this year, which also helps support local farmers in the long run.
A Beaconite, in anticipation of future travel, applied last week to the Ministry of Health and Social Development for an official Covid-19 vaccination certificate, which is now required to travel to some countries. After sending an email with her passport picture page and vaccination card, she was astonished to get a reply within minutes and her official certificate within an hour. Having applied well in advance, she would have been impressed with a few days or even a week, but an hour is outstanding. If only all government offices and processes could be this efficient.
When a Beaconite calls government for information, most customer service agents are polite and happy to assist. But in recent weeks, she has noted a few instances of rudeness, and once or twice has been shocked by the attitude of the person on the other end of the phone. This was a very disappointing experience, and she knows from talking with other residents that she isn’t the only one to have such encounters. To avoid such occurrences in the future, she hopes the government will continue with efforts to teach basic hospitality to public officers. Members of the public, after all, pay their salary. Compared to many other areas in the world, the Virgin Islands has a long way to go in this respect.
A Beaconite who is currently abroad is happy to report the ease with which he was able to get through the process of the BVI Gateway portal to return to the territory. After applying through the portal, he received a response with his approval 10 minutes later. This was a great relief, especially since in recent months he has heard stories of long delays. He is very glad that the process now seems to be running more smoothly. He is scheduled to return to the territory tomorrow, and he will provide another update about how the rest of the process worked out. He has a negative Covid test in hand and his fingers are crossed.