Sometimes we take quite a bit of abuse - Flax-Charles
Territorial At-Large Representative Shereen Flax-Charles revealed that elected representatives sometimes suffer significant abuse from their constituents as they seek solutions to some of the problems being experienced in their districts. However, she suggested that she is not phased by the criticism.
Flax-Charles, while speaking in the House of Assembly (HOA) recently, read a message from a constituent who sought relief for the water woes that they were experiencing.
Among other things, the constituent questioned what plans were being made by the Minister of Communications and Works to alleviate and address the water woes faced on Virgin Gorda.
“What is the Minister of Finance saying about ensuring that all finances are made available as soon as possible to handle the much-needed repairs and upgrades to the system? What approach is the district representative taking to make sure the basic needs of this, his community, are met; like 24-hour availability and access to fresh water to all families and households as well as businesses? What is the collective plan to sustainably deal with this issue?” Flax-Charles said the resident asked.
After reading a portion of the message, she stated: “Now, that is just a quick report of what happens to us members in the House of Assembly on a daily basis because I will say to you that all of us or almost all of us are in these chats. So, we do understand what happens and I’ll tell you sometimes we do take quite a bit of abuse. I mean literally verbal abuse… because of this [water] situation.”
Flax-Charles called the complaints the ’tip of the iceberg’, but said she had confidence in Utilities Minister, Kye Rymer and the government’s move to convert the Water & Sewerage Department into a statutory body.
“Don’t worry about the criticism,” she stated. “All of us in here, [our] backs are supposed to be broad. That’s why we were put here. Because people believed that we could fix a lot of these problems that have been going on for decades.”
Meanwhile, the Territorial At-Large Representative argued that businesses and even government offices at times are suffering as a result of the water woes being faced by constituents and said the government has to try something different.
“We cannot continue to say that we are one of the top destinations for tourism in the Caribbean and the locals, the residents can’t get water [and] the tourists can’t get water,” Flax-Charles argued.
She added: “And unfortunately, maybe that’s one of the reasons why we are number what — 9, 16? Somewhere down in that area out of 25 in the top islands in the Caribbean when for many years we were number-one, year after year.”
She said issues such as the water woes being faced by the territory play a major role in the territory getting a number-one rating.