From Virgin Islands politics and tourism to the sometimes-shocking and even unusual things reported in local courtrooms, 2018 has proven to be an eventful year for the territory.
BVI News compiled a list of the top stories that made headlines last year and, according to readership statistics, the ongoing saga with the world-acclaimed tourist attraction, Willy T, is the newsmaker of 2018.
The Willy T has been dominating headlines from the time news broke that it procured a bigger vessel and was relocating to Peter Island, to subsequent news that it was being forced from the said island. A large volume of persons rejoiced upon the Willy T’s return after the hurricanes and an equally commanding amount expressed outrage some five months later when reports surfaced that the business was being told to move, again.
The Venezuelan woman who was caught smuggling thousands of cash inside her crotch was recorded as the second biggest newsmaker of 2018. The woman who was held at the Beef Island airport with a fellow countryman in September confessed to the crime and was eventually fined.
Crime also held the third and fourth spots for 2018 newsmakers. In third was the Anguillan hotelier who admitted to dispersing nearly $50,000 in criminal proceeds across Tortola while the fourth spot went to the Brandywine Bay murder of Trumayne ‘Passion’ Daway who was allegedly lured to his death by a Hispanic woman.
The territory also experienced its fair share of tragedy in 2018 and one of those tragedy’s involved a pilot who died after crash-landing in the BVI back in July. That report was one of the most-read stories of the year and so was the tragic death of Nathaniel Isaac, Jr, the BVIslander who was found dead in his in his dormitory at Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom last January.
Since the onslaught of hurricanes Irma and Maria, residents of the BVI have grown wary of natural disasters. That said, it might come at no surprise that news about Hurricane Florence — one of the first storms of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season to potentially threaten the BVI — was one of the top stories that year.
Sex offences against minors make list
Meanwhile, reports that a local father was convicted of having sex with his underage daughter and another report that a taximan was caught having sex with a minor during the 2018 emancipation festivities also made the cut as two of the most read stories for the year. The latter case is still ongoing.
The territory was also rocked into concern after the unsolved double murder of Michael Stevens and Clevaughn Sweeney who were killed in a drive-by shooting in 2018.
One positive story to make the 10, top stories of last year was a BVI News feature of Mr and Miss World 2018, Temulji Hughs and Yadali Thomas Santos. Santos recently returned from China where she competed in the Miss World international pageant. Hughes will be travelling abroad later this year to represent the BVI at the Mr World competition.
Other honourable newsmaking mentions for 2018 include the May 24 ‘Decision March’ when residents gathered in the thousands to protest the UK’s decision to impose what are known as public registers of company beneficial ownership on the British Virgin Islands. Britain’s decision was described as a breach of constitution and was feared as something that would have major negative impacts on the territory’s main revenue earner, the financial services sector.