A Beaconite believes right now may be the hardest time to find an affordable apartment in the modern history of the Virgin Islands. As the easy-to-fix houses fill up and residents continue to flood back into the territory, rental prices have skyrocketed and availability has dropped to a baseline. The Beaconite’s multi-week search through Facebook pages, Airbnb listings, rental agencies and random people has yielded few results. Despite these struggles, the Beaconite has been pleased to see a number of random acts of kindness from people who identify with how hard it is to find a place. The sterling example is a young woman from Long Bush, whose door the Beaconite knocked on after someone in the neighbourhood speculated she might have a room to offer. Though the building’s upstairs units weren’t ready, the Long Bush resident stood outside with the Beaconite for more than 10 minutes brainstorming ideas and making calls to friends to inquire about spaces. Space may be tight in the VI, but people still seem to be eager to look out for one another.
In the ditch
A Beaconite with a sad history of catastrophic (though thankfully not fatal) car accidents and near-accidents across these islands and others, found herself involved in another one Saturday night, but only as a passenger. It happened while exiting the road to Brewers Bay and turning onto the road to Cane Garden Bay too sharply, leaving the Beaconite and her friend (who was driving) stranded in a drainage ditch. To add insult to injury, the two woke up the next morning to find the photos of the unfortunate vehicle splashed across social media as an example of “dodgy driving.” “Why was he over on the wrong side of the road?” people wanted to know. To be fair, the road is quite narrow there, but the Beaconite and her friend were more amused than offended. However, another friend who has lived in that area for years — and miraculously was around with a couple of cinder blocks and a two-by-four to help get the vehicle out of its predicament — informed her that it was far from the first time that junction has posed problems for motorists (and not always tourists). Social media users — in between jeers — were torn between the verdict being driver incompetence and poor road layout, so the Beaconite’s friend can’t take all the blame. And just for the record, if a woman is seen stranded on the side of the road while two men fix a wrecked car, it doesn’t mean it had to be hers.
Police Commissioner Michael Matthews announced two weeks ago that six detectives from the United Kingdom will be brought to the territory to assist with unsolved murder cases. This past weekend, after meeting one of those new detectives in the flesh and learning of the double murder near the Red Cross building, a reporter was again reminded how necessary this action is. In order to avoid repeating last year’s record high murder rate — 10 killings in 12 months — she hopes new personnel and firearm training for officers will help reduce that number. The Beaconite thanks both foreign and local officers for remaining committed to outstanding cases and new ones, and hopes that their commitment doesn’t wane over the next few months.
A Beaconite who has been trying to look on the bright side after Hurricane Irma has noticed that parking in Road Town has become much, much easier. Now when he drives into the capital city, he can easily find a parking place near where he wants to go. Pre-Irma, this was almost impossible. Though the reason for this situation is unfortunate — many businesses are shuttered, and, he suspects, many former residents have left the territory — the Beaconite sometimes feels that he is experiencing what it was like to live here 30 years ago during a more peaceful era.