A Beaconite watching the Senate impeachment trial of former United States President Donald Trump last week was captivated by the important role played by Stacey Plaskett, the delegate to the US House of Representatives from the US Virgin Islands. As one of nine impeachment managers — and one of only a handful of black lawmakers involved in the impeachment of a president often accused of racism — Ms. Plaskett helped lay out the case against Mr. Trump. Her performance put her in the national spotlight and drew widespread praise from fellow Democrats across the US. Ms. Plaskett later told The New York Times how she plans to use any newfound influence. “I’m hoping to use this position and whatever that means to benefit the people who brought me to that table and to that podium for that impeachment trial,” Ms. Plaskett said. “At the end of the day, that’s the people of the [US] Virgin Islands.” As this territory heads into a constitutional review and undergoes a test of its own democracy in the form of the commission of inquiry, the US proceeding — and Ms. Plaskett’s role in it — certainly provided food for thought.
For last week’s edition, a Beaconite had the unfortunate task of reporting on three deaths that all occurred within days of each other. News of the deaths spread quickly through the territory and prompted grieving social media posts and pleas to stop an apparent surge in violence. Rumours also spread quickly, with many news outlets reporting information that police still had not confirmed or denied as of Beacon press time yesterday afternoon. The Beaconite’s reports on these deaths, drawn from the few sentences of information put out by police, felt inadequate, but there were no other verifiable sources available. Of course, the Beaconite understands that investigating such tragedies requires patience and careful police work, and he is appreciative of the work Virgin Islands officers do to ensure justice. However, if the police were more forthcoming in the wake of such deaths about basic details — how much progress they have made in their investigations, for instance, or why their investigations are going slowly — they could better control the narrative and squelch rumours that almost certainly pain the grieving families. Such openness would also help encourage the public to come forward with any relevant information. Communication, after all, is a two-way street.
A Beaconite found her recent road test so terrifying that she was actually relieved when the instructor cut it short and informed her that she hadn’t passed. She realises that driving in the Virgin Islands is different from driving in other countries, but nothing seems to justify being expected to attempt seemingly dangerous manoeuvres in busy traffic that bear no resemblance to anything one would encounter on a typical daily drive — and that seemed to put both her and the instructor in danger — all while being given sudden and seemingly nonsensical commands with no forewarning. A Beaconite’s friends gave her information about what she might be asked to do, but she still found it difficult and scary. She is mystified how anyone new to the VI and not used to driving here would be able to pass this test on their first attempt.
A Beaconite recently got burned on her hand by a flat iron, and to soothe it and aid the healing process, she was advised to use aloe. Gathering a few cuttings, she tore into the aloe and rubbed the gel on her skin. Two days later, the scar began drying and new skin appeared under her burn. She is recognising more and more that there is a rather tried and tested equation: plants + time = healing. Though she’s held onto a plant medicine book by National Geographic for quite some time, taking notes and learning the information, it’s time to put her knowledge to use and see just how much nature can really heal. With lemongrass, basil and mint plants on her porch, she’ll start by drinking a cup of bush tea each morning.