Thinking outside the dump

A Beaconite believes the government could turn to an unlikely ally in the ongoing fight against the Coxheath fire: BVI Airways! Or, more specifically, the plane-formerly-known-as-a-BVI-Airways jet. As Beacon readers will surely remember, Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie noted in March that one of the nonoperational company’s jets was sold to the United States-based Neptune Aviation Services, an aerial firefighting company based in Montana. The Beaconite bets that government — for probably less than $7 million — could hire such a company to help put out some of the noxious smoke strafing the western side of Tortola! And residents would finally get to see one of those jets in the sky, killing two birds with one stone.


Coxheath conspiracy theories

The smell of diesel around Coxheath in the days before the fire. Trenches dug around the perimetre of the dumpsite there. These are two of the claims that have fed conspiracy theories that the huge blaze that started two weeks ago was set secretly by the government. While Tortola typically has no shortage of widespread rumours about news events — especially those that affect the health of thousands of residents — this one takes the cake. The Beaconite’s reporting has found no evidence that the government set the fire, and the theory seems extremely unlikely given the political cost to the perpetrators if word got out. Anyway, she thinks there’s little use speculating over how the fire was started when current “evidence” is based on what a friend-of-a-friend heard from a distant cousin over drinks at Paradise. Yes, firefighters should certainly work to determine the most likely cause of the blaze so the same hazardous situation doesn’t happen again, and the Department of Waste Management should evaluate fire hazards at dumpsites (even if they are “temporary”) much more carefully. But just a gentle reminder: The Facebook jury should refrain from convicting without getting all the facts first.


Royal watching

For the only dedicated royal watcher on the Beacon staff (which she found out after her colleagues greeted the Prince of Wales’ December visit with crushing indifference), this weekend was the Super Bowl, with the marriage at Windsor Castle of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, now to henceforth be known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. These days, as current events have many in the Virgin Islands taking a less than charitable stance toward the British, it is important to note that the royal family aims to remain completely above politics, instead devoting their attentions to charity work, gaudy fascinators and archaic customs. Yet they aren’t above progress. On Saturday they welcomed into the family an American woman of colour, complete with a gospel choir and a sermon by a fire-and-brimstone Episcopal bishop. On Saturday, as the Beaconite’s landlord, who also woke up at 5 a.m. to watch the ceremony, gushed over the modern juxtaposition of different customs — British and American, black and white — she said she was firmly convinced that the late Diana, Princess of Wales, mother of the groom, “would be smiling down from heaven.” And for anyone who still thinks such pageantry is frivolous, consider that, with a relentless parade of awful news both here and abroad, it can be refreshing to focus on an event purely about love and happiness.