Order in the court
This week saw the announcement of a new, more accessible portal intended to facilitate more efficient court proceedings in the Virgin Islands, and a Beaconite expects that it will benefit the community. Extended delays of court matters have been an ongoing issue that officials have noted time and time again. The issue is frustrating for all parties involved, but particularly for the accused. Court officials said the portal should help keep track of important documents and ensure that cases progress smoothly. The fairer administration of justice can only mean good things for society. The Beaconite hopes that the system will also help reporters keep track of cases that are of interest to the public, as a well-informed community is certainly a good thing too.
A proverb dating back to Virgil goes, “A lie will get halfway around the island before the truth gets its boots on.” It’s no secret that the Virgin Islands has a misinformation problem. Many countries have one, but here it feels particularly acute because of the community’s small size. One piece of false or misleading information transmitted on WhatsApp can get around the territory at the speed of light, well before anyone can verify it. However, a Beaconite believes that censorship, whether of social media or of the press, is almost never the answer to such problems. A free and open dialogue of ideas, even those perceived by some as dangerous, is the only way that society progresses. The Beaconite believes that if something is demonstrably false, it’s not something to be afraid of. It may take time, but the truth will win out. Censorship, even of information perceived to be harmful or false, will ultimately result in a less free press and a less free society in general. Besides, at the speed things moves these days, what is censored or dismissed as misinformation today can sometimes even turn out to be the truth tomorrow. Of course, the media always have a responsibility to report the facts, and everyone else has the responsibility to be savvy consumers and question the source of all information they receive before mindlessly passing it on. If everyone plays their part, censorship will be a moot point.
Who to back?
A Beaconite is excited about the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar, where several star-studded teams will compete for football’s most coveted prize starting on Sunday. Although the Caribbean isn’t represented this year, a Beaconite has a few favourites. Brazil, England, France, Germany and Spain boast stars who have showcased their immense talents in league matches in Europe. And one cannot rule out the United States national team or the five teams from Africa. Of course, there is always the chance of an underdog such as Croatia making it through to the final rounds. Whatever the outcome, a Beaconite is patiently waiting to watch some of his favourite players on the global stage. Highly competitive football is anticipated.
And the award goes to…
A Beaconite has had some exciting experiences in recent weeks, from covering a red-carpet film debut to flipping a man over her head in a self-defence class held as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month activities. The short film contest brought a high level of glitz and glam to Road Town, and she was genuinely impressed with the level of creativity all the Virgin Islands directors brought to the table. Seeing other people display their creativity is certainly inspiring, and she is excited for all the other events planned for the rest of Culture and Tourism Month. She is also grateful to the instructors who taught the self-defence class at the Tortola Judo Club, who took the time to offer careful instruction even though her sparring partner had to fall to the mat repeatedly while she practiced her takedowns. One can only learn so much in one class, but she gained a lot and hopes other community members take advantage of such classes. Kudos to the instructors for sharing their knowledge.