Airport or not?
A poll posted last week on the Beacon website asked readers whether or not the Beef Island runway should be expanded — a long-time government plan recently supported by a consultant whose report has not yet been made public. More than 200 responses were split down the middle, with 49 percent in favour of expanding the runway, 46 percent opposed, and five percent undecided. As the government prepares to move forward with the expansion, these results suggest the issue will continue to be contentious — just as it has been since a previous government announced in 2012 that it was a “done deal.” Beaconites were glad to see that their story also sparked intense debate on the BVI Community Board. They believe continued dialogue will be crucial for the future of what would be the biggest capital project in the territory’s history. Transparency is also crucial, so they hope the government will release the consultant’s report straightaway.
A Beaconite finds herself lucky enough to see the process of constitutional review unfold during her first year in the Virgin Islands. Besides offering an avenue for learning more about the history of the territory, this moment is an opportunity for community members to voice their priorities for the future. People power is what paved the way toward a more representative government, the right to vote, and more recently — as described in this week’s special report — the path to green energy. The reporter hopes residents take every opportunity during this process to continue making their voices heard on key issues while the VI finds itself in uncharted waters.
A Beaconite was happy and relieved this week to publish a special report about renewable energy in the Virgin Islands (see page one) that he had been sporadically working on for about a year. Contextualising the story of more than a decade of piecemeal progress in the territory’s alternative energy space made the writing process daunting, and the Beaconite was slow to start and occasionally slow to continue after taking pauses when realising that substantial revisions would be necessary. Hindsight, of course, is 2020, and in retrospect many of the revisions that seemed so demanding actually were pretty simple. This is perspective the Beaconite is glad to carry with him to other research-intensive projects. He had always thought long-form journalism would be his niche, and completing this work has encouraged him to keep heading in that direction. It also has encouraged him that the renewable energy movement in the VI— and perhaps worldwide — could prove effective in driving down fossil fuel emissions and while keeping costs low. Obstacles that have hampered renewable projects in the VI previously are far from gone — some, like the topography of Caribbean Islands, can never go away — but there is a skilled and ambitious, and somewhat scrappy, pool of professionals hungry to transform the energy sector, and a government that appears eager to abet this transformation. By working together, and dealing with one another fairly and honestly, the Beaconite sincerely believes that a renewable energy revolution is possible in the VI.
As a tropical storm approached shortly before deadline this week, a Beaconite was reminded of the first hurricane she experienced, which was Dorian, as it was passing through the territory last year. She remembers the anticipation before the storm heightening her fears, and being amazed at the high winds and rain. She bunkered down in her apartment in Long Trench, laying towels by the windows as the water seeped in and passing time watching movies, which helped keep her mind off the storm. Though she knows it was nothing like what residents have experienced with Irma, she wonders if she’ll ever get used to the feeling of impending doom that comes each year with hurricane season.