Public meetings are, well, public

After Government Information Services Facebook live-streamed and radio-broadcasted government’s first two district meetings regarding the draft of the Recovery and Development Plan, a Beaconite was prepared to write another complimentary blurb about GIS’s forward-march towards open government and modernity. In subsequent meetings this week, however, there were not any broadcasts on Facebook or the radio. GIS Chief Information Officer Desiree Smith noted that this was always part of the plan and said that such broadcasts can dissuade members of the public from speaking their mind fully during the meetings, as is intended. This Beaconite, however, respectfully disagrees: Press and government officials are already present there, so what is the risk if a few additional viewers witness their comments on Facebook? Digital broadcasts and archives are an important part to governing in the 21st Century and allow a wider group of people to take part in the democratic process. Such records would also allow the public to keep track of government promises at a time when they are flowing quite freely. Besides, anyone who wants to submit comments anonymously can do so in writing.

School visit

This week, two Beaconites ventured over to Cedar International School to (attempt to) enlighten the young minds of the newspaper/magazine club. For this reporter, it was a surreal moment after spending many years throughout high school and college in journalism classes, learning about what constitutes a good headline or how to tell a fair, accurate story. Truthfully, a Beaconite first realised she wanted to be a reporter after writing articles as a 15-year-old about her school, regardless of the importance of the subject matter of those articles. Journalism can be a really hard profession to have sometimes. There are a lot of late nights, a lot of words to write, a lot of people who probably don’t like when you ask too many questions. But at Cedar on Tuesday, a reporter remembered how meaningful it can be to do the job, too. So to the six Cedar students in the newspaper club (and a special shoutout to you, “Beyonce”) — thanks for your great questions, and for caring about journalism.

On having nothing

While out on the town the other night, a visiting Canadian told a Beaconite he came down to look for land to buy, hearing it was going for cheap after the hurricane. He said he was looking at buying a derelict boat and fixing it up, too. She admitted it was an intriguing prospect. Why not buy a cheap acre of land? A wrecked house? A smashed car? A sunken boat? And a bunch of stuff to fill them all up? Get it while the getting is good, right? But wait. The very hurricane that made these things available is also the very thing that made her think twice about owning “things.” Having arrived a mere two weeks before the storm, a single suitcase was all she had to her name on the island. Watching others pick through ruined possessions acquired through a lifetime, she began to see the value of continuing to travel light. As a wise person once said, ”I started with nothing, and I still have most of it left.”

Basketball

A Beaconite who frequently played basketball at the Belle Vue gym before Hurricane Irma was happy to read that volunteers are clearing away the rubble of the destroyed building (see story on page 4). It sounds like the plan for now is to leave the concrete pad under the gym’s foundation, and the Beaconite has high hopes that it can be converted into an outside court for now until a new gym can be re-constructed. The Beaconite understands that rebuilding the facility — and others like it across the territory —‘ probably won’t be a top priority now, but he does know that lots of people used the gym on a daily basis.


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