During the recent roadworks in Fish Bay, a Beaconite noticed a refreshing example of excellent customer service. Twice, he drove up to the site from the Road Town direction and met a friendly man directing traffic. Each time, the man took the time to fully answer the Beaconite’s questions, apologised for the inconvenience, and provided a detailed explanation of the detour route and why it was necessary. Such friendly service is a breath of fresh air on a hot day when a blocked road can cause drivers serious frustration. The Beaconite can think of several government officials who should take a lesson from the roadworker. He wishes him all the best.
A Beaconite noticed an outpouring of opinions and emotions from residents following comments made by Eileene L. Parsons, for whom the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College auditorium is named. Ms. Parsons said during a Virgin Islands Day panel on Monday that she believes that true Virgin Islanders must be able to trace their ancestry back three generations on both sides. For the many Virgin Islanders whose fathers, mothers, grandmothers, or grandfathers came from different parts of the world, the comment hit a nerve. Many people expressing their dismay at Ms. Parson’s comments are active in the Virgin Islands’ community even if they can’t trace their roots back three generations. And by law, they are Virgin Islanders. The dialogue struck home for the Beaconite, an Asian American born and raised in the United States. Though her parents are immigrants, she considers herself to be an American. Her roots, after all, are in the US, not in Bangladesh, where her family is from. It seems to the Beaconite that there are many stories of diasporas across the globe and across decades. It seems unfair to displace people even further. The “go back to where you came from” or “you don’t belong here” mentality only serves to belittle others — and usually out of pride or fear.
If Virgin Islands residents were outraged by the brutal and violent crimes presented in the recently leaked “Police in Paradise” video — which was not, according to the police commissioner, either complete or intended for public consumption — a Beaconite asks if they were similarly outraged when a man was gunned down in broad daylight, or when an innocent child was caught in crossfire? Did they protest as loudly? Or do these crimes somehow only matter when they appear as pixelated images on phone screens? One thing is certain: Such crimes certainly mattered to the families and friends of the victims. One can certainly argue that the video inaccurately portrays the VI as a crime-ridden cesspool, but that’s a subjective opinion, and again, the video was incomplete and not supposed to be public. An abuser will demand, “How dare you tell people I did that?” — as if guilt lies not with the perpetrator of the crime but with the person who dared to tell others about it. The Beaconite hopes the territory’s residents reflect on this the next time they suffer from this kind of outrage.
Though the inaugural Virgin Islands Day last year was hampered by a sudden burst of Covid-19 cases, a Beaconite was glad to see the observance get recognition this year in the form of an engaging panel discussion hosted Monday by H. Lavity Stoutt Community College and insights shared by elected leaders. Even little touches like the flags hung in various stores and restaurants this week made her smile. The territory has an interesting history worth exploring and celebrating, and the Beaconite has noted her appreciation in previous entries for the VI historians, authors and artists who have been working hard to tell more of the story. Personally, she spent part of her holiday watching the sun set over the north side of Tortola while listing all the things she’s grateful for, especially being able to call such a beautiful place home.