Thank you, Madam Speaker

A Beaconite would like to offer praise to House of Assembly Speaker Ingrid Moses-Scatliffe, who smartly decided to limit HOA members to 30-minute speaking contributions during this year’s budget debate. True, there was little choice given how pressed up they were to the April 30 deadline when the provisional spending warrant expired. And yes, some of the members inevitably exceeded their time slot. The request did, however, improve the quality of the discourse. Where in past years members would often bloviate for two to three hours, ambling from topic to topic with little direction, this year they vocalised more succinct, digestible messages. Listening to past budget debates was like scrolling through 80 pages of fine-print “Terms and Agreements” for an online purchase: It was hard to identify the important stuff. This year offered a much more accessible discussion for members of the listening public. The Beaconite hopes Ms. Moses-Scatliffe agrees and reapplies her new policy for all future debates.


Under suspicion

Question for a security guard and an immigration officer at the Tortola Pier Park: What, precisely, about a Beaconite sitting on the ground in the park for 10 to 15 minutes while charging her mobile phone so violates your sense of propriety that you had to ask her, twice, why she was doing it? Neither of you said that she was doing anything illegal, or breaking the rules of the park. Remember, the park, like an airport, is a frequent stop for travellers in and out of the territory, many of whose phones and other devices, like the Beaconite’s, probably need charging. Of course, the Beaconite would have preferred to sit on a bench, but it’s not her fault that none of the outlets happen to be near benches. Hence the position you found her in. And yet apparently something about it, though you could not articulate why, nevertheless seemed just “wrong,” prompting you to ask where she lived, and then to ask to see her passport, despite having already seen it mere minutes ago when the Beaconite went through immigration after getting off the ferry. Of course, the Beaconite gave it to you, even though she did not know what you were looking for. While the Beaconite does appreciate the fact that you remained polite and did not escalate the situation (such as by getting the Tasers out), she would politely ask that next time when you see someone doing something innocuous but perhaps slightly unusual, take a few seconds to consider that she actually might have a very logical reason for doing it and give her the benefit of the doubt.


Back in business

A few weeks ago, a Beaconite took her malfunctioning laptop into iSmart to be fixed. In the process, she found out that the electronics store was operating out of the former Varieties Apparel shop in Road Town. A few months after Irma, the Beaconite interviewed the store’s owner, Bashaar Tarabay, in the shell of that very building. At the time, the windows had been broken by bands of looters, a lone screwdriver was still jammed in one windowsill, and the air was thick with mould. Now, the shop is transformed into a mould-free, well-ventilated space, and iSmart has purchased all new electronics to replace its looted or damaged merchandise. The store has had more than its fair share of setbacks since the storm — including a shipping pallet being stolen at the BVI Ports Authority and a recent break-in — but merely seeing customers coming in and out of the building again is certainly a step in the right direction. And it is just one example of dozens of businesses that have struggled back to their feet amid overwhelming post-storm challenges. Indeed, the capital city has been filled with the sounds of hammering and other work, and it seems that new doors reopen every day.