Happy birthday, Beacon

The BVI Beacon turned 37 on Monday. The newspaper’s first issue — a 12-page black-and-white edition — was published on June 7, 1984 after being composed on a single electric typewriter in the building that now houses The Dove restaurant, which served as the Beacon’s first office. This year, the newspaper is celebrating closer to home in its office at the bottom of Russell Hill after three birthdays spent squatting in temporary headquarters in Pasea Estate thanks to Hurricane Irma. Sadly, the old wooden building that used to house part of the newspaper there was destroyed in the storm, but a new three-storey building has been built in its place.


Departure test

A Beaconite was disheartened by some actions taken recently by health officials organising Covid-19 testing. When a friend and her family member visited last week, some staff members took the time to help facilitate the various testing services, but when it came time for their departure test they experienced frustrating difficulties in the communication process. After her guests took their pre-departure Covid-19 test, they didn’t receive any test results the next day though officials claim that the turnaround time is 24 hours. Her guests therefore had to reschedule their flights home, spend more money, and cancel their work plans. She was told after 24 hours that a staff member responsible for distributing the lab results would be in the hospital later that night, and that she “should” receive the results then. But both numbers given her by a hospital worker did not work. The reporter took to Facebook for help. She then was able to get through on one phone number provided to her by someone who commented on her post. The woman on the other end of the line said that no email address had been provided for her visitors’ tests, even though three email addresses and phone numbers were written on the paperwork when the tests were taken. After the worker took down an email address, the test results came nearly 16 hours later. The next time around, the Beaconite was able to ensure her guests travelled on time only with the help of someone working behind the scenes who was able to locate all the information that went along with the tests, including the email addresses on file. This situation made the reporter wonder if the staff members lied about not having an email address. She also noticed a lack of communication between the testing lab and the hospital. Given that the tests cost $70 and that timing is extremely important for travellers, she hopes that service improves soon.


Solar delay

In July 2020, BVI Electricity Corporation officials announced that the Virgin Islands’ first utility-scale solar development, built by a United States solar developer, would be churning out power by Lobster Festival 2021. Although the project developer granted the Beacon a series of interviews this spring, BVIEC officials have never responded to questions from the newspaper about this important project. As such, basic questions, including whether a contract has been signed, remain unanswered. With construction expected to begin this month but apparently delayed, the Beaconite hopes the BVIEC will soon explain what is going on.



Graduation season

Premier Andrew Fahie was in Florida last week attending his daughter’s graduation ceremony from a Miami high school. A Beaconite congratulates her on her accomplishment. According to the Miami Herald, all public high school graduations in Miami took place in person, despite some degree of community spread of Covid-19 in the area. The Beaconite is not yet sure what the VI’s public schools have in mind for graduation ceremonies this year, but she hopes the premier will at least consider a way to safely allow VI graduates to enjoy the same experience his family did if they choose: namely, celebrating in person with their classmates, families and friends.