Facing Jackass Ghut
Following a press conference last week celebrating the launch of the territory’s new addressing system — which is still in its pilot phase — a Beaconite digitally explored his environs, learning the names of streets he had previously only known by conspicuous trees or eye-catching buildings marking their entrance. It made him chuckle to learn the dignified address of his office — 32 Pasea Estate Road — which he had been exclusively referring to as “the temporary Beacon office.” He also found it funny that 32 Pasea Estate Road faces Jackass Ghut, which separates the Beacon office from the Tortola Sports Club. The Beaconite has known about these physical addresses for only a few days, and already they have exposed to him parts of the territory he didn’t know existed, and gave him new ways to appreciate areas that he knows well.
A Beaconite has covered courts and crime since she first reached the territory, and she still doesn’t know how to answer the question, “When does court start and end?” There is no set timetable for court matters: One must simply show up every day and find out what’s happening. When you’re in the mix of things, it gets easy since you know where matters left off from the day before. But after the courts’ recess, it is difficult adjusting again to the “system” and its “flow.” Recently the reporter also learned that Magistrates’ Court is closed on Fridays, but she’s not sure when this took effect or why. Though she reads off a list of matters which is printed each morning, even the officers on duty in the courtrooms say they see this list the same day it is printed. Sometimes the High Court will post a list of matters for the week, which makes it easier to follow the proceedings. But again, this is not consistent. Though the reporter is happy to see the recent release of Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court sentencing guidelines, there are still many improvements that could be made. After all, helping the media cover the court system will also help ensure that the whole community is kept abreast of the important matters that transpire there.
On the way to work last week, a Beaconite accompanied his neighbour to drop off some organic mulch at a nearby farm. Winding through the narrow roads and bumping along the rockier stretches, the Beaconite wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from the farm, but it certainly wasn’t the vista that eventually greeted him. The farm was a series of ledges cut into the steep slope of mountain descending to a bay below. As ocean swells were exacerbated by a tropical storm far off shore, the Beaconite watched impressive waves crash onto the beach, their collisions rather loud considering his vantage point hundreds of feet above. He learned that the farm had grown steadily over the course of 10 years, and continues to grow as the farmers clear new plots and tinker with new technologies. One of the farmworkers demonstrated how they compress water from compost-derived soil, which travels through a series of tubes to help germinate plants in other plots. The Beaconite, who tries to maintain a vegetable-heavy diet, has struggled to find fresh produce in the territory, and has heard similar complaints from people with much more committed eating habits than he. But after visiting this farm a mere 10-minute walk from his house, he was left wondering if there actually existed in the territory a plethora of fresh, locally grown produce, and if he has such difficulty finding it because he hasn’t been paying close enough attention, or if the people who grow such produce don’t command enough attention themselves.