For one Beaconite, reporting on a recent High Court trial was made more stressful by the difficulty of obtaining basic information about the case from relevant government offices. For instance, after attending a hearing at the Sakal Building last month, the Beaconite asked a court clerk for a copy of the day’s cause list, which would have listed basic information about the trial he was covering. However, he was told that the document couldn’t be furnished at that time. And when reporting on other court matters, emails to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the High Court have often gone unanswered. The fact that the Beaconite occasionally feels stonewalled by the territory’s judiciary doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense, as he only reaches out so that he can accurately and responsibly inform the public about legal proceedings. Surely the judiciary shares that goal.
A Beaconite commends government for calling a press conference to inform the public about the controversial impounding nearly 200 yachts last week. Officials should be given kudos for keeping the public informed once it became clear that the actions had created a firestorm of controversy on social media and beyond. However, many companies and tourists say that by that point the damage was already done to the territory’s reputation — and that the situation could have been handled much better. The Beaconite would like to remind government that accountability and transparency aren’t just about damage control: They should be happening all along.
In The Nation
Last week, The Nation — a major national magazine in the United States — reprinted an article by a young Virgin Islander named Dominique de Castro, who recounted her experience through Hurricane Irma for the non-profit publisher Youth Communications. In the article, Ms. de Castro recalled how she and her family evacuated to Puerto Rico from Virgin Gorda following Irma and later came to New York City. She wrote about sea grape trees and moko jumbies. She also mentioned new friends she made in NYC, including a Muslim girl and a Tibetan girl. Ms. de Castro was exposed to many different cultures and ethnicities in the city, and she remembered being amazed by learning about them. She felt connected to many of the immigrants who brought their cultures from home with them. She also noted that she no longer “felt stranded in a strange land” but that she was a “part of what makes this land unique.” A Beaconite found the story beautiful, and she supports the message of Youth Communications, which focuses on teen-written stories. As a youth, the Beaconite used writing to strengthen her own emotional skills, and as a Bangladeshi Muslim from the US, she is happy to see that her own culture could inspire others.
It takes a village
A Beaconite is no stranger to covering all sorts of breaking news, protests and vigils concerning gun violence. On Saturday, she was at the vigil for Jaimez Stoutt. The energy in the air was palpable. The reporter recognises that it isn’t easy to stand up in public, be vulnerable, and share the details of painful memories, so she strongly commends everyone who spoke up. Joycelyn Leonard-Walters, Mr. Stoutt’s mother, offered a detailed list of the ways that business owners, police officers, government, the Governor’s Office, parents, religious leaders and everyone else in the community can take part in steering others away from violence. The Beaconite hopes everyone will take heed — and that their actions will lead to a dramatic drop in gun use in the territory.