A Beaconite has been disappointed with government officials’ reticence to release information about a Covid-19 outbreak at Her Majesty’s Prison. It has been well documented throughout the pandemic that prisons around the world have been particularly affected by the virus because it is difficult to implement social distancing measures in facilities often filled to capacity. Moreover, there is often limited pressure on politicians to keep inmate populations safe. With inmates’ communication to the outside world restricted, it is difficult for them to hold governments accountable. And if prisons withhold information, not even the general public can effectively advocate for their safety.
A Beaconite has noticed that more and more Virgin Islands restaurants have been charging a gratuity of 15 percent or higher without explicitly notifying customers. Many then give them a receipt to sign with a space to add a tip, as though they hadn’t already been charged one. This practice seems sneaky to the Beaconite. Customers who don’t carefully study their bill probably won’t notice the charge, and unwittingly add a tip on top of the tip. He believes restaurants should explain their tipping policy in no uncertain terms so that customers can be guided accordingly.
Green VI is doing some interesting work at its eco-park on Virgin Gorda, and a Beaconite had the opportunity to tour the facility last week. While learning more about the organisation’s recycling and vector control programmes, the reporter reflected on little ways she could try to live a more sustainable lifestyle, like starting a garden. There are some exciting projects in the works at the park, and the Beaconite is eager to see them flourish this year.
Whoa, yeah! It’s electric!
This week marked the launch of a new fleet of electric shuttles servicing Road Town, and a Beaconite looks forward to testing them out in the coming weeks. As someone who lives on the north end of Tortola, she hopes the service can quickly expand beyond town. She doesn’t mind paying for the occasional taxi when she has car trouble and can’t catch a ride, but taxis are far too expensive to be a regular source of transportation. Extending routes throughout the island would be a game changer in reducing carbon emissions and getting the Virgin Islands closer to its sustainability goals highlighted by both the premier and governor recently. Fingers crossed that this initial run goes smoothly.
What lies ahead
A Beaconite had the opportunity recently to sit down with Governor John Rankin and discuss his first year in office. It was a lengthy interview that covered complex subjects like balancing transparency with protecting national security. No topic was off limits, and reporters always appreciate when even difficult questions get thoughtful and thorough answers. 2022 promises to be another busy year with the continuation of the pandemic and the planned delivery of the final Commission of Inquiry report in April. The reporter is curious to see how it all unfolds.
With nurses reportedly striking at the hospital and farmers expressing their views on proposed legislation, a Beaconite is seeing more and more residents speak up. This is a welcomed break for the reporter, who has often faced tight-lipped residents who seemed afraid to say anything that contradicts authorities. Perhaps that was out of fear of losing their jobs, or they felt their sentiments weren’t shared by colleagues. Maybe the Great Resignation has spread to the Caribbean, where employees are demanding more from their employers. Maybe the Commission of Inquiry has inspired people to quell a supposed “culture of fear” cultivated in recent years. Either way, this reporter hopes that residents keep the spirit alive.