Street strife

A Beaconite thinks that government should either pedestrianise Main Street in Road Town or officially rename it what it actually is: Pain Street. The Beaconite, for one, is sick of being honked out of the way by traffic for daring to walk on the edge of the road and being forced to try and stand on a so-called sidewalk (where one even exists) which is often the width of half the waist of a supermodel. Traffic on the road is completely unnecessary as it is parallel to Waterfront Drive and produces virtually no economic action for the businesses along the street. Hardly any cars stop, and hardly any money is produced. It is an authentically beautiful Caribbean street with a character that is lacking in the rest of the capital. Drive the cars out and bring the tourists in. Let the restaurants set up tables in the road and create a buzz and vibe like a mini version of London’s Soho or Covent Garden, and give visitors a charming alternative to the fine, but comparatively soulless, pier park area. And while we are at it, why is there no public transport in the Virgin Islands, apart from the — again fine, but rather Toytown — effort of the Road Town shuttle? Bermuda is roughly the same size as Tortola and has an extensive, and cheap, bus network. Yes, Bermuda, with around 63,000 people, has twice the population of the VI, but doesn’t that mean the VI should be able to have at least half its service capacity? Tourists are amazed and annoyed that there isn’t even a public link between the airport and the capital and other visitor hubs. The Beaconite does not think it’s too much to ask. But let’s start with taking the pain outta Main.



BVIEC on the job

After a very rainy morning last Thursday, a Beaconite spoke with his neighbour, a BVI Electricity Corporation worker who was preparing equipment to respond to power outages around Tortola. At the same time, the Beaconite was preparing to go to the hills to pick up another Beaconite to photograph landscapes and buildings damaged by the flooding. From the Harrigan area, the Beaconites made their way through Chalwell before heading down to Sea Cows Bay, Nanny Cay, Hannahs and Havers and then towards Pockwood Pond, where the BVIEC’s power plant is located. They were surprised by the extent of the damage they encountered along the way: rockslides blocking roads, rivers flowing into the Sir Francis Drake Channel, newly cut hills transformed into piles of mud, damaged retaining walls, and many other startling sights. In Pockwood Pond, BVIEC workers were outside cleaning the grounds. After capturing several photos, the Beaconite dropped his colleague back at his residence in the hills. As he did so, he saw the neighbour he had met earlier driving to another customer’s residence to address a power outage. Thinking about how much work the BVIEC technicians had ahead of them given the weather and damage, the Beaconite waved as he passed by. Later, he called a friend who lives in Sage Mountain to check up on them. Happy to receive the call, the friend recounted the impact caused by the unexpected weather when the power went out following an apparent lightning strike nearby that also damaged generators. Faced with a dark house, the friend called the BVIEC emergency line. After the Beaconite’s own observations that day, he wasn’t surprised to hear his friend praise the BVIEC technicians who soon arrived and restored power in the area. He hopes the BVIEC team — and other disaster responders of all stripes — keep up the good work. He knows the effort can be extensive, exhausting and often dangerous.