Ship visit

Next February, students in the territory will get a chance to check out a 540-foot freighter that is now used as a training ship for the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. On Jan. 12 the Kennedy will depart for a six-week term at sea, and kindergarten through 12th grade students in the Virgin Islands are invited to participate in the academy’s 2019 Follow the Voyage — Share the Experience Programme. “Thanks to cadet blogs, the captain’s log, photographs, videos, special features and a unique hands-on curriculum, students can virtually travel with the cadets aboard the TS Kennedy,” according to a press release from the academy. “Each day, students will read about and watch the shipboard responsibilities of marine engineering, marine transportation, and facilities engineering majors.” The ship is scheduled to call in Road Town on Feb. 6-8. For more information contact Nancy Franks at Ms. Franks, who plans to be in Tortola during the ship’s visit, is also willing to visit schools to discuss the ship and the academy.


Good service

En route to North Sound, Virgin Gorda for a pitch event for students of the Saira pop-up hospitality school, a Beaconite stumbled across a team that seemed to embody the “hospitality gene” that the founder of the school is so passionate about cultivating here in the Virgin Islands. The young, energetic employees of the new Sensation Ferries greeted each passenger immediately with a smile, passed out free water and mints on the way, were prompt and enthusiastic in responding to passenger concerns, and bid them a cheerful goodbye when the ferry reached its destination. Customer service in the VI can be spotty, but this crew proved it really doesn’t take much to make customers feel valued and welcomed, and gave a glimpse of the high level of service for which businesses should strive.



Service with a smile

A Beaconite who dropped off documents at the Labour Department on Tuesday got a chance to use the government’s new Public Service Customer Service Virtual Mailbox one day after it launched. Though there was a glitch at a Labour kiosk — which public officers were working diligently to repair — he was able to log on to the system online. When he did, he happily gave a very positive review to the officer who assisted him at Labour. She was helpful, thorough, efficient and polite, all of which the Beaconite noted in his online review. He thinks the system — which allows users to rate their experience in detail, including naming the officers who assisted them — is a great way for the public service to work toward higher standards. If used correctly, the feedback gathered from the tool could perhaps be used as part of public officers’ employment evaluations. The Beaconite encourages all residents to use the system to weigh in whenever they get a chance. He knows he will.


Silly season

Last week, midterm elections in the United States were on the minds of many — especially, a Beaconite presumes, for the Americans who live and work throughout the territory. And when she went on a brief trip to the US Virgin Islands two weeks ago, she was surprised to see almost every available patch of grass or roadside flooded with campaign signs and posters. The Beaconite has not yet witnessed a general election in this territory, but now she is equal parts curious and terrified to see what unfolds. Here’s hoping that the recently created draft “code of conduct” for political parties and candidates is finalised before the peak of election season, and that “respect for media and journalists” really is made a priority.