No rapid tests

When returning to the Virgin Islands from St. Kitts this week, a Beaconite opted to get her Covid-19 rapid test upon arrival since government announced recently that fully vaccinated travellers can now get tested at ports of entry. However, when she reached the testing area, she and several other passengers were informed that no more rapid tests were available. The testing centre employees said that the hospital only had one more box of rapid tests, and that those tests would not be transported until much later. Instead, they offered travellers a PCR test for $50, and allowed them to leave after they took the test even though the results were pending. The employees also told travellers that they could self-isolate if they chose. The Beaconite wonders if there is still a test shortage on island. She also heard many complaints about the continued existence of a testing requirement, compared to some neighbouring islands that no longer require tests to enter.

Three years gone

Almost three years ago, Beaconite Joey Waldinger, fresh out of college, stepped off a ferry in Road Town to start his first full-time job at a newspaper. Unsure of what lay ahead, he was discombobulated by the palm trees and humidity, anxious about his new life, and, above all, excited to begin this new adventure. The experience exceeded all expectations, thanks largely to his job at the Beacon. His role as a reporter introduced him to an incredible array of people and motivated him to learn as much as he could about this fascinating territory. He drove around Jost Van Dyke with a lifetime resident during the height of lockdown, absorbing the island as few had ever seen it. He conducted an interview aboard a speedboat carrying tourists from Conch Island to Anegada. He spent an afternoon wandering West End until he found the parents of a prison inmate he wanted to meet. He carried a notepad and a camera to Lobster Festivals and surf competitions and New Year’s parties, attempting to secure front-page photos and collect quotes from drunk tourists drowned out by live soca music. He worked out of the paper’s small office in Road Town and alongside a scrappy, talented group of journalists who every week produce (in his biased opinion) the best news product in the Virgin Islands. The Beaconite will forever treasure his time in the VI and at the paper, and he thanks everyone who gave him an interview, a ride in the back of their truck, or a wave at Josiahs Bay — or otherwise crossed his path during the best three years of his life.

Roe v. Wade

With the recent reversal in the United States of Roe v. Wade, some Virgin Islands keyboard warriors were quick to register their shock and dismay on social media. Of course, here in the VI, abortion remains illegal except in a few very limited circumstances. In fact, the director of a VI nonprofit that works primarily with women was quick to point out that VI women seeking to terminate their pregnancies safely and legally have had to venture at their own expense to the neighbouring USVI. The Beaconite is not trying to make a political point concerning this hot-button issue, nor is she trying to engage in “whataboutism.” However, she will point out that abortion rights are not a very popular cause in this territory, with no vast networks of activists as there are in US. Thus, here, it’s much easier to criticise a foreign country — for which there will be no real-life consequences — than stand up for the same cause at home among one’s friends and neighbours. She will use this opportunity to call on residents who care deeply about this issue to start their advocacy right here.

Sound of music

At Paradise Club Lounge Bar & Restaurant, a Beaconite recently enjoyed swaying along as the New Life Baptist Church’s band performed and raised more than $1,100 to support community projects in Africa. The organisation says the Nairobi-based Tortola Child Rescue & Educational Centre has served nearly 300 students and seen 50 graduate since the beginning of the partnership. The group also hopes to begin work soon on a school and church in Malawi. The Beaconite was glad to hear that the owner of Paradise pledged to match the funds raised and make a personal donation on top. Credit is also due to the band of talented musicians. The Beaconite loves a stellar saxophone, and this performance didn’t disappoint.