Online and onward
A Beaconite was glad to see a series of digital-focused bills make their way through the House of Assembly over the past week. One of her friends from the marine sector who had to move away last year because of financial hardship posed by the pandemic said she hopes to return soon but must sort out her work permit first. The reporter can imagine that the process is no cakewalk to complete from abroad while the digital systems aren’t yet in place to complete the forms online. It’s difficult enough to navigate even while based in the Virgin Islands. The Beaconite still remembers the anxiety she felt back when she first moved to the territory and learned her employer couldn’t sign a necessary immigration form with a digital signature while he was traveling abroad. As these new digital systems come online, the reporter hopes it will be a relief for residents and for the public service officials who have had to step up to the plate over the past year. Though the waiting game can be frustrating, the Beaconite has to applaud the employees who had to meet unexpected challenges, like processing a mountain of newly mandated certificates of good standing for work permit renewals. If all goes according to plan, this digital overhaul should save everyone time, paperwork and stress.
Business of brunch
A Beaconite recently enjoyed a nice brunch in a West End restaurant that opened this year. She notices that many restaurants across the islands have been hosting brunches catered to residents who want to enjoy their weekends within the territory. With the postponement or cancellation of large events and the continued closure of the sea borders, the devastating effects on the struggling economy can be seen in closed shops and restaurants. She has heard many people urge others to circulate wealth within the territory in any way they can. She believes that going out to a nice brunch every now and then can be one of the most enjoyable ways to support local businesses.
A Beaconite who recently travelled out of the territory is pleased by the efficiency of the Covid-19 Rapid Response Team. With only a three-day window between her required test on Saturday morning and her departure for St. Thomas on Monday morning, she did not have the highest confidence that the bureaucratic processes involved would work smoothly, but they did. Her email exchanges with the team were prompt and responsive; her appointment at the Dr. Orlando Smith Hospital, the time slot for which she shared with several tourists either departing or quarantining, was quick and efficient; and her test results arrived by email on Sunday, exactly on schedule. Having been tested once before several months ago, she can vouch for the fact that the system has been streamlined since then. In time, she hopes the system for vaccine distribution, which is still working out the kinks, will similarly improve.
The cones, the cones
A Beaconite is not impressed with the government’s ever-evolving traffic solutions at the intersection of Administration and Waterfront drives in Road Town. They have run the gamut: painted lines and arrows; flashing lights; traffic cones of various shapes and sizes. Clearly, something has been fundamentally wrong with the intersection’s arrangement ever since the government rearranged the flow of traffic in the capital last year. The current situation is dangerous, and it will be even worse when tourists unfamiliar with the roads return to the territory in large numbers. The Beaconite hopes government will take a close look at the intersection and figure out a safe solution that involves a comprehensive plan instead of quixotic stopgap measures. And don’t even get him started on the Road Town roundabout, which needs similar work.