Medical pot

The Bahamas, like the Virgin Islands, is among several Caribbean countries that have recently announced plans to consider a medical marijuana initiative. The country’s plan resembles the VI’s in several respects, with Prime Minister Hubert Minnis presenting a proposal to legalise and regulate the substance, with Bahamians keeping a majority of control over the industry. However, the Bahamas has established a National Commission on Marijuana, which has stepped forward where the VI has not in recommending that possession of small amounts of marijuana be decriminalised, and that the criminal records of Bahamian residents convicted for marijuana possession be expunged. A Beaconite believes that VI politicians should consider similar measures before the medical marijuana initiative goes any further. How can a country or territory reap a profit from something while imprisoning its own residents for that very same thing?



On the water

A Beaconite had the opportunity to do some water-based reporting during a recent paddleboard race from Sandy Cay to Jost Van Dyke and was reminded that sports coverage is invaluable. She was positioned on a catamaran to take photos of the event, and as the boat trailed along near the back of the race to ensure all the participants safely made it to the finish line, she witnessed one paddler’s board flip over in the choppy seas. The athlete attempted to right her board on her own but struggled to do so. The Beaconite alerted crewmembers as a precaution, and the catamaran veered toward the paddler. But before it could arrive, a fellow competitor pulled up to help flip the board over, checked to make sure the paddler was doing well, and fetched her paddle. The reporter began getting more involved in covering sports last year, and she is pleasantly surprised to see frequent displays of good sportsmanship, even when cameras are pointed the other way. She hopes that when photographers do capture such moments, it inspires young athletes to put competitors’ safety before winning prizes.



A Beaconite has capitalised on some of his free weeknights to do something he’s long wanted to do: learn a martial art. At least twice a week he leaves his office and walks down the street (the dojo, literally, is at the end of the street) and practices jiu-jitsu. The classes are a nice change from the more rote weekday activities of hitting the gym or going for a run, and he learns something new every session. That the job is a constant education in all manner of subjects is one of the reasons the Beaconite loves journalism; with jiu-jitsu, he is taking up an education that has nothing to do with his job or prior schooling. It’s fun to learn how easy it is to exacerbate the body’s pressure points, or to refine something supposedly innate — falling on your back — into a skill. Sometimes, admittedly, it can be daunting after a long day of writing and reporting to face another hour-and-change of mental and physical exercise, but the Beaconite has seldom attended a training session and wished he hadn’t.


Talking to strangers


On the way back from a quick weekend trip, a Beaconite met several travellers in St. Thomas. Sometimes, her taxi rides to and from the airport include good conversation with the taxi drivers. This was one of those times. The reporter usually takes the seat right next to the driver, and began speaking with her about the book she was reading. A couple in the seat behind them also joined in on the conversation and soon asked the woman what changes she’d seen since the hurricanes. “Nature,” the driver responded. “Nature bounced back quickly, but behind it, like those buildings that you see, they didn’t.” The Beaconite agreed. Introducing herself as reporter who has covered the recovery efforts, she explained that it takes time and resources to build back, and that it isn’t a simple task. She wanted to speak more about what she knew, to spread awareness of the devastating event that shaped the lives of so many Virgin Islands residents, so that tourists like them could be more compassionate and considerate. But the passengers were taken away by the beauty of the island, and the taxi driver remained upbeat and joked around with the tourists, asking about their plans for their vacation. She wished the Beaconite luck and told her there would be many things to write about in the VI. The reporter let her know that she would, and that there are, and they parted ways, for now.