Some charter companies and other marine businesses are becoming exasperated with the ongoing existence of the so-called “exclusion zone,” which bars most boats from the area between Jost Van Dyke and Tortola’s west end without permission. This restriction was set up to help curb illegal entry during the pandemic. But some residents who supported the zone to begin with, when the borders were still closed and it didn’t affect them, are crying foul now that it does affect them. At the risk of saying “I told you so,” a Beaconite would like to repeat what she pointed out months ago: When government is allowed to take away freedoms, no matter how minor, it doesn’t easily give them back. Authorities are now accustomed to being able to patrol that area without encountering recreational traffic, so why would they willingly make their jobs more difficult in the name of allowing more freedom for boaters? People should think carefully any time they agree to sign away even the smallest bit of their freedom, because by the time they decide they want it back, it may prove that what was lost in a second may take a long time to recover — maybe even forever.
In the shadows
It wasn’t until after the commission of inquiry team had already left the territory that a Beaconite learned about their departure. They went back to England and won’t return until Easter. The reporter is sure that having certain resources at hand from such a large country will be useful while the team investigates alleged corruption in this territory. But she also worries about what may be lost in their absence. Corruption proliferates in shadows for a reason. Anyone who stands accused of criminal activity has a strong incentive to keep such misconduct in the dark and may employ whatever resources they have at their disposal to keep evidence of it hidden, be it through intimidation or other means. What if someone who has evidence to offer doesn’t feel comfortable relaying it through email or over the phone? What about community members who don’t have access to the internet? The inquiry could only benefit by making participation as easy as possible. However the commission goes about gathering evidence, the reporter commends those who are brave enough to shed light on whatever injustices they may have witnessed for the benefit of the community.
A Beaconite has been thinking about a column he read recently that delves into a question he frequently struggles with: Do journalists really need a social media presence? There surely are many advantages to having one, as reporters can use large social media followings to attract tips or find sources. The Beaconite knows this, but as someone who wishes to spend less time on social media because he dislikes the stress it brings him, he has a hard time stomaching the idea of actively managing several professional profiles when his personal ones already give him so much grief. He was pleased, then, to read a columnist’s report on a survey that found respondents generally split on the importance of journalists broadcasting their opinions on Twitter and other platforms. He predicts that in the coming years social media platforms, as news-sharing devices, will be increasingly thought of as harmful instead of helpful, with Twitter falling farthest out of grace. He hopes so anyway, if only for selfish reasons: He believes his work should speak for itself, and he would much rather use his brainpower to produce better work than fret over whether a tweet strikes the desired tone.
A Beaconite recently had the pleasure of attending the opening of a new bar and restaurant just a stone’s throw away from her apartment. She has also been enjoying the different events hosted at other establishments, including the Super Bowl on Sunday. She is noticing that gatherings and social events are on the rise. The lack of tourists in the territory remains a big sore spot for many, but she hopes the marine borders will be able to re-open in March and more visitors will be able to mingle safely with residents. She looks forward to the latter part of this year, especially with government’s promises of a bigger and better August Emancipation Festival.