The Junior Minister portfolios have been reassigned, effective November 25, 2019, according to Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) in a statement today, November 26, 2019.
Honourable Shereen D. Flax Charles (AL) has now been appointed the Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development while Honourable Sharie B. de Castro (AL) has been appointed Junior Minister for Tourism.
Hon Flax-Charles previously served as Jr Minister for Tourism and Hon deCastro as Jr Minister for Trade and Economic Development.
According to Premier Fahie, the objective is to always ensure that capacity is built by all those who he is 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.
He added that he continues to see the benefits and merit in capacity building among elected Members as evident in the “stellar performance” of each Minister who performed in the role of Deputy Premier, albeit on a rotational basis.
“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.”
Regarding the reassignment of portfolios for the Junior Ministers, Hon Fahie said the initiative is about capacity building in the Government and preparing the Junior Ministers to not only excel in their performance in this term, but to serve in future terms of office and at higher levels.
“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.”
‘There is a lot of work to be done’
The Premier further reasoned that it is always good to move away from what is familiar has he seeks to build capacity across his 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.”
Hon Fahie added that equally important, Hon de Castro 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.”
The Premier said 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.”