For the first time in nearly two decades, readers will notice that the price of the Beacon has gone up, from 50 cents to $1. The last increase — from 35 to 50 cents — came on June 11, 1998, a time when gasoline prices hovered around $1.03 per gallon.
Trials and tribulations
Magistrates’ Court has always had a unique way of operating, especially as it pertains to the press. Prior to the hurricane apocalypse, information about daily court matters could usually be sourced ahead of time, but in the courtroom reporters still scrambled to fact-check basic details about the cases — from the spelling of defendants’ names to the specifics of their charges. Now, that process is still the same, even though the venue is different. A Beaconite is grateful that some attorneys will help provide relevant information when asked, but still believes the process would be much easier if the press could receive the list of each matter being heard that day — a list that each lawyer already can access. Having that information readily available would not only make journalists’ jobs easier, but it would help ensure that every story is written and reported accurately — and is devoid of misspelled names.
Nothing to fear but fear itself
After a week straight of trying to make sense of the confusion at the Immigration Department, with desperate expatriates having to wake up at 3 a.m. and shove their neighbours out of the way simply to get entry permit extensions, a Beaconite was surprised to find herself on the other side of the coin. “Please come in for orientation,” said a voice on the other end of the line. Nobody the Beaconite asked seemed to know what that was. “You mean an extension?” they all asked. “No: Why would I need an extension?” she replied. “I’ve only been here six months!” It turned out that while picking up her stamped passport in the post-hurricane chaos, she left without the usual spiel given to new arrivals — something that long-time residents did not seem to understand. No matter: She came in at her appointed time, paid a $25 fee, listened to a quick briefing about Immigration protocols, and left promptly, wondering why everything else can’t be that easy.
A Beaconite spent the weekend in St. Thomas seeing off a friend who had to leave Tortola for a few months for work. It was his first extended period of time in the United States Virgin Islands since the storms, and he was very impressed with the American territory’s level of disaster recovery. Charlotte Amalie, the capital city, looked much as it did before Hurricane Irma: Tourists could be seen roaming around; telecommunication services seemed both speedy and widely available; and the population appeared to be living in decent spirits. It was refreshing to spend time in a place that seemed well on its way to normalcy, both operationally and aesthetically. The Beaconite doesn’t say this to disregard the progress made here — much has been done and stalwarts in both government and the private sector have demonstrated their commitment to redeveloping the territory. Still, he thinks a lot could be learned from examining the resiliency demonstrated in the USVI.
A Beaconite got a great Valentine’s Day gift last week when he arrived home after the newspaper’s deadline: The house where he is staying in Chalwell finally had electricity. He promptly turned on all the lights and drank a celebratory beer. He is trying not to gloat too much in the office, however, as he is mindful that another Beaconite is still living without electricity in the fairly isolated countryside near Luck Hill. However, now that the BVI Electricity Corporation has announced plans to have current fully restored by March, he hopes that she won’t have to wait too long either. The Beaconite thanks all of the hardworking linespeople from here and abroad, as well as all the other workers who finally made it happen.