|Reporter's Notebook (Jan. 31, 2013)|
|Wednesday, 30 January 2013 15:42|
The results are in
“What should be the priority for improving the Virgin Islands tourism sector?” That was last week’s question on the Beacon website’s new poll feature, and it drew some interesting results. Of a list of 10 possible answers, “ferry access” was the overwhelming winner, with 152 of 252 votes, or 60.3 percent. “Environmental protection” came in second, with 27 votes, followed by “infrastructural improvements” (24); “airlift” (21); “historic preservation” (9); “more tourist activities” (8); “other” (8); and “better marketing” (3). Two answers received no votes: “cruise ship dock extension” and “more conference facilities.” Beaconites were pleased with the participation — and with the insightful comments on the topic posted on the website’s “forum” section. Other readers are encouraged to weigh in and join the conversation at bvibeacon.com.
Officials looking to promote transparency and openness in government — a goal most Virgin Islands political parties supported during the 2011 election campaigns — could learn a lesson from Liberia. The West African country’s government recently erected an electronic billboard in the capital city of Monrovia that will flash graphics and statistics aimed at educating passers-by about how government money is being spent, according to the Associated Press. Liberia’s president, the Nobel laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, turned to the billboard as a way to educate members of the public who don’t use the Internet or read newspapers, the AP reported. The country, which was formed in 1847 largely by former slaves re-settled from the United States, is still recovering after decades of civil war and faces serious issues with corruption. A Beaconite thinks that the billboard is a good start, and if VI government officials want to follow Liberia’s example, he’s pretty sure there’s space available on the electronic billboard on Waterfront Drive.
A Beaconite at Brewers Bay for a Sunday swim was confronted with strong-looking breakers for the first time at the normally calm beach this weekend. Even though she learned to swim in southern California, where surfers and swimmers often share the same waves, the sight of all that foam had the reporter thinking she’d perhaps rather sit in the sand with a book. After watching a child and her father successfully jump over the waves for a while, however, the Beaconite got her courage back and braved the water. Naturally, the waves weren’t nearly as big as they appeared from the sand.
A motley crew of Beaconites took to the sea last weekend, and kayaked from Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda to Fallen Jerusalem and back, with a few stops along the way. The paddle through choppy seas between islands was worth it — despite one of the two boats taking on a bit of water — and all enjoyed a hike around the untouched Fallen Jerusalem before breaking for lunch. One Beaconite — ever thinking of the news — brought up an incident in 2011, when the United States Coast Guard rescued a snorkeler who had accidently spent the night on the small, uninhabited island. The group decided that Fallen Jerusalem would be a great place to spend the night — castaway-style — as long as it was planned.
There are a couple of new streetlights near the Central Administration Building, and they look different. That is because they are “completely” powered from the sun, according to BVI Electricity Corporation General Manager Leroy Abraham. On top of the lights are solar panels that provide the energy needed to power the 45-watt LED bulbs. The lights were installed earlier this month, and there are “plans for additional solar lights” in Road Town later this year, Mr. Abraham added.
When a Beaconite called the Governor’s Office last week to request an interview, she wasn’t expecting to be invited to lunch. But that’s exactly what happened. The Beaconite was pleased to accept, and she enjoyed her lunch while all her questions were answered. The experience, she concluded, was one more perk of reporting in a small territory.