Elected leaders have criticised the United Kingdom corruption inquiry in recent days, but a Beacon poll suggests that the probe has very strong support in the community. The unscientific poll was posted on the Beacon’s website last Thursday and teased on Facebook. Of 195 votes, 156 respondents “strongly support” the inquiry, and 30 more “support it.” Only three people chose “I oppose it,” and three more selected “I strongly oppose it.” Another three were undecided. Anyone who didn’t weigh in yet still has time: The poll is live at bvibeacon.com.
United States President Joe Biden announced last week that he would seek to implement a 10-day quarantine for all visitors and returning residents to the United States. A Beaconite’s friend in the hospitality industry in the Virgin Islands confided that she had 10 potential bookings from people waiting to see how the pandemic situation progressed, but all of them were cancelled after Mr. Biden’s announcement. The president has no shortage of supporters in the VI, likely due to the fact that his predecessor was so widely disliked. However, the Beaconite is sceptical that these quarantine measures, if they are even enforceable in such a large and highly trafficked country, will do anything to help fight a virus that is already widespread in the US. But they will certainly help further decimate a struggling tourist industry in the VI and many other destinations that depend on US guests.
Kindness in court
A Beaconite recently covered court for the first time in a while, and she was reminded of what makes the beat both challenging and interesting. It’s a fast-paced setting, and accuracy is imperative. But the most memorable moment occurred outside the courtroom. When one person arrived for his court date, a security guard informed him that he would need to purchase dress pants to meet the court’s dress code. Otherwise he would be marked absent and face a warrant for arrest. The man was short on cash, so someone else spotted him the money to go to a nearby thrift store. The Beaconite commends the woman for extending support when needed. Over and over again, she is reminded of the value of such gestures. The community certainly would be worse off this far into a pandemic without that spirit.
The historic announcement of the United Kingdom’s large-scale investigation into potential corruption in the territory has piqued the interest of many people, and for good reason. What does such an inquiry really mean for the future of the Virgin Islands, especially as it seeks greater autonomy? A Beaconite doesn’t own a crystal ball, but she does have hope. She envisions a best-case scenario where any potential misconduct is rooted out and quickly rectified, ultimately placing the territory in a stronger position to determine its own future.
Good vs. bad
While sitting in court on Monday, a Beaconite listened to allegations against two defendants that both illustrated the unfortunate ways in which desperate circumstances can chip away at the best of people’s qualities. In one of the complaints, a man allegedly threatened his friend and neighbouring business owner, apparently blaming the reconstruction of his friend’s supermarket after Hurricane Irma for problems at his own restaurant. In the other complaint, a man allegedly threw bottles at a grocery store security officer after the officer told him that he needed to wear a mask and sanitise his hands to enter the building. Of course, the allegations may be untrue, but they do accurately depict how, at the same time that disasters can bring out people’s most shining qualities, the associated stress can also bring out their worst. Practically since the beginning of the pandemic, when people were clearing out shelves of toilet paper, the anxiety surrounding Covid-19 seemed to prey on people’s worst instincts, and stories of people acting violently towards those who try to enforce social distancing have since abounded. With such restrictions becoming an increasingly accepted part of life, the Beaconite hopes the confrontations will peter out.