A Beaconite recently attended the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, where she got to glimpse hundreds of impressive vessels, including gleaming superyachts, speedboats, and even a personal submarine available for purchase for anyone who happens to be a billionaire. The tourism board from the Bahamas was prominently represented, and so was the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry. She ran into one or two Virgin Islands friends who were attending to meet with clients or tour the boats, and others were there in their capacity as employees for international boat dealers. But overall, she was surprised that there wasn’t a much stronger VI presence at the show as in previous years. She knows Hurricane Irma and the pandemic have limited budgets and opportunities for in-person promotion. However, she hopes the territory can return to the international stage soon, given that the show typically attracts around 100,000 attendees and is a great showcase for the VI. As the territory gears up for what is likely to be an active tourism season, it shouldn’t let competitors get the upper hand.
Even though a Beaconite is covering the event from some 4,000 miles away, he is excited to report on the 26th United Nations Conference of the Parties in Glasgow, Scotland, through next week. It seems every news cycle there is another example of the devastation that awaits humanity if global warming is left unchecked, and the conversation around this COP meeting feels especially dire. Usually, getting too deep into matters of environmental degradation depresses the Beaconite, but immersing himself in the COP has been more interesting than distressing. It could be that viewing the conference from the perspective of an objective journalist removes him from the fear and tension the activists and politicians on the ground are certainly feeling. It could also be that he feels a little serendipity in covering the conference after studying past COP meetings in college. Whatever the reason, the Beaconite hopes that as the conference continues, there arise few reasons for him to wallow in despair, and that he is able to keep covering it as an interested observer.
A Beaconite is noticing that globally workers are demanding better pay and improved working conditions. This trend has hit home in the Virgin Islands in recent days with teachers protesting both low wages and working in unsafe buildings. The reporter thinks that the pandemic has brought changes in the way the world views work, and that new perspectives should be carefully considered. When the pandemic hit suddenly, people began losing loved ones or losing access to travel to loved ones, and it spurred a bleak reality cheque. Anything could happen at any given moment, and the general public is not “asleep” anymore. People are demanding better lives, and those in decision-making seats will have to consider the pandemic as a catalyst for massive changes. What those changes will bring remains to be seen. As leaders meet to find solutions to climate change at the COP26 meeting in Glasgow, the Beaconite believes the value of each individual must be a priority in this rapidly changing world.