A question of import

A Beaconite who imported a Toyota jeep from Japan shortly after Hurricane Irma was confused by a recent claim made by the director of the Department of Waste Management. “Many persons bring vehicles from Japan and so forth and it is very difficult to get parts when it starts giving problems, and they would take these vehicles and put them on the side of the road and in public parking lots,” the director said in a government press release. “It is a nightmare — a safety issue — and it breaks down the beauty of our territory. If people bring in these vehicles, they need to be more responsible and do not put them on the side of the road for the government to deal with.” The director was partly correct: Derelict vehicles are certainly a major problem in the territory, and owners should properly dispose of them. But the Beaconite sees no reason to blame the issue on Japanese imports. Indeed, very few of the many derelict vehicles he sees on the roadsides are Japanese, and in any case the problem long preceded the popularity of such imports in the Virgin Islands. In his view, the root of the problem is much simpler: The government has doggedly refused to enforce its own laws. Currently, the law allows government to charge owners for the removal of any vehicle they abandon. But the Beaconite wonders if this has ever actually happened. He suspects not. In recent years, he has also heard politicians complain about Japanese imports, and he strongly suspects that they sound this refrain in the service of influential car dealers irked that potential customers are sidestepping their services. Perhaps there is a good reason to restrict imports. But if so, the Beaconite hasn’t heard it yet. So if leaders move forward with that plan, they should first find a better excuse than illogically blaming Japanese imports for the derelict vehicle problem. And in the meantime, they should enforce their own laws, even if it upsets a constituent or two. By the way, the Beaconite’s 2008 Japanese jeep is running fine, and he has never had any problem finding parts for it. He was also very glad for the option to buy it, because the prices charged by many car dealerships in the VI are sky high.

Up, up and away!

The Virgin Islands certainly offered a warm welcome last Thursday to the passengers arriving on the first direct flight from Miami. A Beaconite was among the packed crowd that eagerly viewed the arrival of the plane from the second floor of the Beef Island airport, pressing up close to the windows to view touchdown. Like many would-be travellers, the reporter is hoping to take advantage of the more convenient travel option — if the cost comes down and availability goes up. She is in her first long-distance relationship, and it at least offers some peace of mind to know that she and her boyfriend are only one flight apart now. Though this week has been rocky for the airport, she hopes the new service heralds a moment of positive progress for the territory.

The famous Foxy

A Beaconite recently had a brush with fame as she got to meet Feliciano “Foxy” Callwood in person for the first time. She was celebrating a friend’s birthday a few weeks ago at the Willy T when she encountered a small crowd by the boat’s entrance. Mr. Callwood was enjoying a day out on the water with family, and the Beaconite got to enjoy a brief chat with the well-known founder of Foxy’s Tamarind Bar. It was a pleasure to finally shake hands with someone who has done so much to promote the Virgin Islands, and it’s certainly a moment she’ll treasure.