Saying good-bye

As Zarrin Ahmed winds down her time here in the Virgin Islands as a Beacon reporter, she has been making the most of her days and catching up with friends. She was happy to explore The Baths and CocoMaya in Virgin Gorda recently. She also made a trip out to her friend in Anegada, where they were able to go horseback riding on the beach. She even went deep into the ocean with her horse, Mustafa. Over the weekend, she also met up with people who she’s connected with throughout her time as a reporter in the Virgin Islands. She feels comforted in knowing that her impact in the territory and her contributions will be remembered. She hopes to return to the territory soon and reconnect with all her friends.

Marine base update

Last week the Beacon reported that the Recovery and Development Agency had signed a $2,380,590.87 contract with James Todman Construction to build the Joint Marine Shore Base, which will house police, immigration and customs officers at Road Reef. The story also included information about the source of the funding, stating, “The RDA’s most recent report, from October, stated that the [United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office] would contribute $420,998 to the project, with the [Virgin Islands] government contributing $1,620,998. However, that total — $2,041,996 — is $338,594.87 short of the contracted amount, and the RDA did not immediately respond to a request to provide updated figures.” The RDA, however, responded to the request shortly after the Beacon’s print deadline last week, noting that the VI government will provide the additional funds. Beaconites appreciate the agency’s responsiveness and willingness to share the technical details of its projects.

Disability unfriendly

A Beaconite was sad to see three cruise ship tourists in motorised wheelchairs struggling to navigate Road Town yesterday as cars sped by. Successive governments have often claimed that they were making the capital more disability-friendly while spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars in purported improvements to sidewalks and other infrastructure. The Beaconite is here to tell them that they have not succeeded. Despite some minor improvements over the years, Road Town is extremely difficult for the even the most able-bodied pedestrian to navigate. Anyone in a wheelchair faces extraordinarily dangerous obstacles including steep sidewalks, lack of access and other issues. Indeed, it is not uncommon to see a wheelchair-user forced to navigate along the road or through a busy parking lot in the capital. Leaders must do better. Road Town — and the rest of the territory, for that matter — should be easily accessible to all residents and tourists. The current situation is nothing short of a national disgrace.

School struggles

While covering House of Assembly last week, a Beaconite was glad to hear that up-and-coming principals are getting an opportunity to focus on school leadership to fulfil their mandated professional development training requirements. It’s no secret that the past few years have been challenging for students and teachers alike, and focusing on how to support teachers in their classrooms is a good area of focus. The Beaconite knows from friends who are instructors that many of their students are finding it challenging to focus on learning and acting appropriately in class. She hopes that the lessons administrators learn about emotional intelligence get passed along to teachers and students. Academic learning is certainly important for young minds, but no less important are the life skills needed to become a valuable member of society in this post-pandemic world.