Less than a year into his term, Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie has announced the first reshuffle of Junior Ministers.
Effective Monday 25th, November 2019, Hon. Shereen Flax Charles has been appointed the Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development while Hon. Sharie DeCastro has been appointed Junior Minister for Tourism. Hon. Flax-Charles previously served as the Junior Minister for Tourism while Hon. de Castro served as the Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development.
"It has been determined that this is in the best interest of the Territory and in addition to building capacity would be effective in assisting the Premier in managing and advancing critical portfolios under the Premier’s Office," Premier Fahie noted in a statement.
Full Statement From Premier Fahie
When your Government took office in February 2019, I said that we would be unconventional, innovative, accountable and responsive, serving in the best interest of the people of the Virgin Islands.
I said that ‘iron would sharpen iron’ where we would work together as one Government to restore hope and prosperity for all. One ‘iron sharpening’ strategy we continue to employ as a Government is skills and experience building through rotation.
Indeed, I continue to see the benefits and merit in capacity building among elected Members. This is evident in the stellar performance of each Minister who performed in the role of Deputy Premier, albeit on a rotational basis.
My objective as Premier is to always ensure that capacity is built by all those who I am working with to ensure that all persons are exposed to the necessary experience of the ministerial office so that they can be effective in any role, and at a moment’s notice.
In this vein, I am pleased to announce that after reviewing the appointment of Junior Ministers for the past eight months, I will follow suit with extending this initiative to the Junior Ministers portfolio. It has been determined that this is in the best interest of the Territory and in addition to building capacity would be effective in assisting the Premier in managing and advancing critical portfolios under the Premier’s Office.
I have informed Her Excellency the Acting Governor of the following.
1. That effective Monday 25th, November 2019, Honourable Shereen Flax Charles be appointed the Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development.
2. That effective Monday 25th, November 2019, Honourable Sharie B. DeCastro be appointed Junior Minister for Tourism.
This initiative is about capacity building in the Government and preparing our Junior Ministers to not only excel in their performance in this term, but to serve in future terms of office and at higher levels.
I must say that after some 20 years as an elected representative, it will soon be time for me to consider myself an elderly. I am a firm believer that all of us are the products of our past experiences, and inside of us reside the wisdom and the guidance of our elders who moulded and shaped us to create and support a generation that, like those before, would excel and achieve more than the one before.
Our ancestors, our teachers, our role models groomed us to perform and to achieve great milestones, the results of which they knew they might not have lived to see or to experience. But they knew that it is the generations to come that would benefit from their works.
This was the rationale that I had when, from the very beginning of my term, I announced my unconventional approach to the appointment of a Deputy Premier, which is, that each Minister would be rotated in three-month tours of duty as Deputy Premier.
I look forward to the administration of the oath to appoint of the new portfolios for each Junior Minister.
The reassignment of the portfolios comes at an opportune time when unconventional approaches are needed to drive the actions required in your Government’s legislative Agenda and Budget Address which all speaks to SMART and innovative initiatives.
It’s is always good to move away from what is familiar, as I am building capacity across my Government. There is an opportunity to get tourism expertise at this time within the trade and economic agenda. Honourable Flax-Charles comes with experience in tourism that will help to bolster our business development sector through the lens of tourism.
We want to ensure that our business community is providing the right product offering as a destination and jurisdiction or that they are creating businesses that help to encourage and attract products and services that are of interest to visitors and residents. And, since we are diversifying our tourism product beyond sun, sea and sand, the reassignment is important to allow us to expand that part of sector with the reality that visitors are consumers of local products, good and services.
Equally important, Hon. DeCastro will bring business development, integration, and innovation into the tourism industry. She can help to create a balance between the tourism sector and business sector from a trade and innovative perspective. So the overall objective is to strengthen all areas of the economy and to ensure that business, tourism, trade and commerce drive a new green BVI where there is economic expansion and economic diversification, thereby leading to the creation of jobs, entrepreneurs, and strong BVI.
There is a lot of work to be done as everyone would have heard in the Speech from the Throne which detailed the Legislative Agenda and I look forward to the expertise in a dynamic way as everyone in this Territory work together in the best interest of the people of the Virgin Islands.