Tuesday, January 27, 2015

British Virgin Islands

Sixty of the most beautiful coral reefs, white beaches and sub-tropical islands in the Caribbean, and all still part of the British Empire; sorry, Commonwealth. Tourism and money-laundering are the only significant contributors to its economy, though it is being “cooperative” in the attempt to clean up the tax havens. There is a Chief Minister, who runs an official government, but it is little more than a parish council. As a British Overseas Territory its inhabitants are British Citizens, which means (UKIP please take note) that people from the BVI can go to Bulgaria and Romania and Poland any time they like, and take local people’s jobs, and do all those other nasty things that xenophobes always claim.

The beauty of the BVI is obvious in its blue skies, white beaches, palm trees, bikini-clad women and men with chest muscles to die for. But it is also more subtly apparent in the poetry of the islands, where every location is precisely named to render some aspect of its history. Thus, one arrives by boat through the Francis Drake Canal - a hint of the ancient piracy that built the English Treasury and continues, in a different form, to fill the coffers of the islands' treasuries. These treasuries include both Deadman's Chest and Fallen Jerusalem, so yes you can expect casinos; there is no island named Smuggler's Paradise, or Cocaine Alley, though clearly there should be, for the BVI provide, like so much of the Caribbean, a transit station for the South American cartels. I am not able to comment on why Virgin Gorda island is named Virgin Gorda island, though it is said that she insists on using a condom and does not allow kissing. People mostly go there to see the movie stars and "The Baths", which are not baths in the sense of Baden-Baden or Bath Spa, but massive granite boulders left behind from some ancient volcanic eruption, gathered in such a way that the ocean pours into them, and stays behind as grottoes.

Marks For: 4

Marks Against: 4

See also the US Virgin Islands, which are the American share of the same region, larger, of course, and more populous, of course, than the British.

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