It’s no secret that irresponsible and noisy scooter riders have long been a nuisance and danger in the Virgin Islands. Last week, a new curfew order enacted a three-week ban on scooter riding between 5 p.m. and 5 a.m. Why the government chose to address this particular issue at this particular time by this particular method mystifies the Beaconite. The scooter problem seems clearly unrelated to the current Covid-19 crisis, and there were many previous opportunities for police to enforce existing laws relating to helmets and licensing, which could have addressed the majority of concerns. This ham-fisted approach to the curfew potentially penalises law-abiding workers who use these bikes for transportation. At least one business owner has been vocal about how he makes pizza deliveries using his scooter, and said he has so far received no answer from the government about how he is supposed to conduct his business. However, the Beaconite’s primary concern is that so many residents seem increasingly willing to give up freedom for safety in the Covid-19 era. Sure, the scooter laws may not affect them personally, but at some point, something else will. By then it may be too late.
A Beaconite eagerly awaited the return of belongers to the territory last week, empathetic of the long wait they endured for two and a half months before being allowed to fly back in. So she reached out to an information officer, who helpfully told her that no incoming flights were due on Tuesday of last week, the first day that the borders were back open. The reporter decided instead to go to the airport the next day to see when the first flight would come in, with hopes to photograph and interview some people returning. Upon reaching there before 10 a.m., she was told by a senior airport official that a flight would come in at 3:30 p.m., but “it could be before that.” She agreed to wait in East End for a phone call from the official confirming the flight, and hoped for permission to enter the tarmac. As 1:30 p.m. approached with no sign of passenger aircrafts flying into the airport, the reporter went back to the airport and called the official again. He told her there was a flight coming in at 4:15 p.m. and reassured her that he would call her back with updates. As 4:15 p.m. came and went with no sign of aircrafts, the reporter remained unsure if any flights would enter the territory that day. She left disappointed, only to see a post on the government’s Facebook page about two incoming flights that same day. When did these flights come in? How many passengers have come so far? Was she intentionally shut out? She hopes to find some answers. To those returning, welcome back and please stay safe for yourselves, and for us all.
On the opening weekend of the 10 p.m. extended curfew, a Beaconite went on her first-ever blind date. A few friends joked about the rarity of having a truly blind date in the age of social media, particularly on an island as small as Tortola. But she enjoyed popping on a pair of heels, dusting off the fuchsia-coloured dress in the back of her closet, and topping off the look with lipstick for the first time in recent memory. A brilliantly full moon shone over the water at the Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park, and patrons at the outdoor bar — where the music was lively and people were dancing — seemed to enjoy having an evening out that didn’t revolve around watching a clock. The reporter has been missing some of the more social aspects of working in the community and appreciated making a new acquaintance. The light-hearted evening stood in somewhat disconcerting contrast to the pervasive strife her friends are experiencing here at home and abroad, but she is grateful for the relief from the challenges of the past few months.