Online commenters on Virgin Islands news sites, colloquially known as “bloggers,” often find themselves under fire from politicians and the wider community. Comments that are trolling or offensive are common everywhere, but in a small community they tend to feel unusually personal. Some argue that the comments misrepresent the VI to those abroad; others go as far as calling for censorship. A Beaconite sympathises: Her blood often boils while reading some of the nastier comments. However, she has also observed that throughout human history, censoring opinions, no matter how offensive, usually has not ended well. She thinks that in most cases people condemning the “bloggers” would do better to look in their own backyards for what they can do to improve the territory rather than blaming others who often are simply observing what they see, no matter how skewed their perspective. Meanwhile, the rude commenters should clean up their act and make every effort to be constructive and civil.



Smart strategy

On Friday, a Beaconite took the opportunity to get the Covid-19 vaccine, and she’ll candidly say she didn’t feel great in the next 24 hours, waking up several times that evening from body aches. But after a good night’s sleep on Saturday she felt much better. The reporter will gladly trade one day of discomfort for potentially two weeks of extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, fevers or worse. She would like to compliment the Virgin Islands medical teams tasked with managing the rollout of a health campaign that — like so many aspects of life over the past year — is unlike any other. She thought it smart that the clinic in Pockwood Pond waited until five visitors were prepared to get the shot before opening the bottle to avoid wastage. The Beaconite didn’t mind chilling for a few minutes with her book to help things along and ensure the distribution of shots was done as efficiently as possible. The friendly medical staff certainly helped reassure the reporter given her fear of needles. And getting the shot that afternoon provided the perfect excuse to stop by a nearby Italian grocery for a bit of chocolate. The Beaconite understands well that some community members may still have reservations about getting a shot, but she hopes that anyone who is hesitant feels comfortable reaching out to medical professionals in the territory to get their questions answered.



More press conferences

In the eighteen months that a Beaconite has been covering courts and crime for this newspaper, he has been invited to only two police press conferences. The first was in November, after police made the largest land-based cocaine seizure in United Kingdom history; the second was last Thursday, two days after a man was gunned down in Fish Bay in broad daylight. Both sessions were informative: At each, Police Commissioner Michael Matthews and other members of the National Security Council gave thorough speeches updating the public about the territory’s crime situation. They also responded candidly to journalists’ questions, even if they did withhold some details that the Beaconite thinks would have benefitted the public. Though he is thankful police organised the two press conferences — and that Mr. Matthews typically returns his phone calls — he thinks such sessions should be held consistently, not just after a staggering drug raid or tragic killing. After the shooting on March 16, the Beaconite was moved by the accounts of residents scared that they or their families could be affected by the violence. He was also concerned that these same residents didn’t know what the police were doing to tamp down on this violence — or did know, and felt that the efforts were not good enough. Regular updates on the state of crime in the Virgin Islands and on the police force’s response would bring comfort to a population that is increasingly uneasy. It would probably also encourage witnesses to come forward to help police catch criminals.



Bananas and plantains

Many may know the culinary difference between plantains and bananas. A Beaconite did a little research and learned some of the main differences between the two look-alikes. Plantains are high in complex carbohydrates and have more starch and less sugar than bananas. They are usually cooked and are high in nutrients. Bananas, meanwhile, are high in potassium.