BVI News

The best woman to sit At-Large

By Davion Smith, BVI News Staff

Considering that only four women comprise the overall 12 known political candidates vying for a Territorial At-Large seat, the females might already be entering the race with a handicap — having only a 33 percent chance of victory as opposed to their male counterparts who have a stronger 66 percent chance.

That said, At-Large candidates Sharie DeCastro and Shereen Flax-Charles of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP), Shaina Smith of the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM), and Sandy Underhill of the National Democratic Party (NDP) might have some amount of work to do if they are to distinguish themselves from the other eight male At-Large contenders.

More importantly, however, the women might have to distinguish themselves from each other if at least one of them should stand a chance of earning one of the four At-Large seats at the end of the elections.

Based on their respective public addresses at recent political events, the women have shown some similarities but notable differences as well.

Flax-Charles the only At-Large candidate from sister island

The VIP’s Flax-Charles, for example, stands as the only At-Large candidate from a sister island. This may very well earn her strong support from the sister islands community who are being promised greater representation if she is elected.

Flax-Charles’ history as a businesswoman and her involvement in local tourism are experiences she is also bringing to improve the sector. Outside of those qualities, the political newcomer said she is also mindful of the BVI’s ‘vulnerable’ community such as children, the elderly, and persons with special needs.

“It is about time that someone speaks up for those who may not have a voice. In this community, I will be that voice … For too long we have made policies that affect everyone living here but we are not mindful of the elderly, our children, those persons with special needs, and the disabled. But, guess what, in a VIP administration you can be rest assured that these communities will be taken into consideration for every major piece of policy we propose,” said Flax-Charles who is widely known as an outspoken resident of Virgin Gorda.

Underhill the educator and lawyer

Underhill has been described by her political leader Myron Walwyn as the NDP’s “secret weapon”.

Her years of service as the principal of the territory’s largest secondary school could prove her to be an asset to the education ministerial portfolio if elected. And on the other hand, her law degree might make her an asset as a legislator in the House of Assembly.

She has promised to use her intimate knowledge as a former principal to address the challenges within the local education sector. One of her goals, if elected, is to facilitate greater training for educators and to make the sector better resourced in terms of staff and otherwise.

“We must also ensure that we improve the under-representation of males in teaching. This is a key concern … I will be your leader who is instrumental in developing a society in which women and men can enjoy equal opportunities but most importantly to establish a platform to empower and support our women creating opportunities for our single mothers by helping them to obtain the necessary skills in parenting, coping, and other critical areas.”

Shaina Smith the technocrat

The PVIM’s Smith — an engineer by education and a project manager by profession — is a technocrat who is promising practical solutions where national development is concerned.

Smith’s proposed solutions fall into two main categories. The first category covers local infrastructure and utilities while the second focuses on social services and development.

In the social services arena, family assistance programmes and initiatives to improve early childhood education are among the things Smith is aiming to improve.

“I will work with my team to see a system implemented where instead of imprisoning a parent for unpaid child support it will be deducted from their pay. This is a much better scenario,” Smith said.

“When elected, I will work to see the Trade Department and the National Business Bureau are resourced with the expertise and the funding to facilitate another shift where we enable young Virgin Islanders to become the next set of shareholders in the local economy,” she added.

The PVIM candidate also promised solutions for local infrastructure and utilities such as water and sewerage. She also said a five-year plan is what is needed to develop permanent roads across the BVI.

“The next important thing is a maintenance system where road crews are set up in each district by zones to maintain the roads daily and not just before elections,” she said.

deCastro the youth specialist

The VIP’s second female At-Large candidate, deCastro, appears to be building a considerable part of her campaign on the foundation of youth.

DeCastro — an entrepreneur, sitting member on the board of the territory’s Recovery & Development Agency, and a community activist — presented a territorial plan for areas such as health, sports tourism, among other things. But, throughout it all, the 28-year-old is promising to employ more targetted strategies to maintain youth involvement.

“For too many years we (local young persons) have been ‘talked at’ and not ‘talked to’. References are made about us and no-one has taken the time to use our experiences as a reference. The buck stops here and now. It’s not just about getting youths to listen. Its also about getting people in positions of authority to hear what the youth has to say.”

The quartet of female At-Large candidates has had some overlapping areas of interests such as female empowerment, education, family support, among other things.

Copyright 2021 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.


Disclaimer: BVI News and its affiliated companies are not responsible for the content of comments posted or for anything arising out of use of the comments below or other interaction among the users.

  1. duck1951 says:

    Best of luck to all . let there be some sorely needed diversity with the election of some ladies .

    Like 14
    • BWI says:

      They all make me proud to see them presenting solutions. I think Shania is ready and equipped to serve in the house of assembly from day one. And unlike others she never gives up. Every election she is there building her case, she has matured and is getting stronger every time I hear her speak.

      Like 20
      Dislike 18
  2. So ok says:

    I’m for only 3 of the Women, Minnie Mouse,NO, I don’t trust ship jumpers. When the going get tough, she might jump ship again.

    Like 31
    Dislike 11
    • @ So ok says:

      I agree 100%. If you can’t be trusted to show loyalty to your party (twice now), why should anyone trust you to show loyalty to anything else?

      Like 18
      Dislike 6
    • @So ok 2 says:

      If you would get to know the candidate you will find out that her loyalty is to God and Country and that trumps party loyalty any day, hands down. i encourage you to take another look at her community involvement and behind the scenes work and judge her based on that not which party she runs with. This country needs representation period. Done with this party politics nonesense and vote for her.

      Like 6
      Dislike 2
    • @ so OK says:

      That means that Mark and Juggie are out as well?

  3. Please says:

    I don’t know since when BVI News is the authority on who ahead in the race from who entering with handicap but the people of the Virgin Islands will give you thing to write about on Elections night. When you all don’t have constructive things to write about don’t write anything at all.

    Like 14
    Dislike 11
    • WTF says:

      What article did you read or was this article later edited?

      Like 12
      Dislike 1
    • @Please says:

      The article only mentioned handicap based on the small percentage of women that are running compared to number of men that are running. If a bag contains 20 cherries and 5 grapes the chances of picking a grape would be lower given the number that is available. Effectively based on those numbers ONLY the chances for women being elected are significantly lower than men that’s all the article mentioned. They were not making an evaluation of the women’s chances at the poll based on who they think would win.

      Like 17
    • On the fence says:

      These are the kind of articles all the newspapers should be writing. MASTERFUL, keep it up BVI News. Let the uninformed say negative things. Brilliant

      Like 11
  4. Voter says:

    I think the lady that is running with Ronnie’s team made a huge mistake. No one is taking Mitch or Ronnie serious. Sorry Lady.

    Like 57
    Dislike 11
  5. voter says:

    Nice balanced perspective. Great BVI News.

    This is what voters need.

    Like 23
    Dislike 2
  6. WOMEN POWER says:

    Discrimination to the hilt. are you trying to imply that only one woman should win an at large seat and the other three should go to the men? Look what the 4 at large members of the present house of assembly which are all men have done to this country and tell me who is the best choice for at large in the BVI

    Like 12
    Dislike 11
  7. I SAY says:

    I Will have to go with Shaina on this one, she didn’t go silent on the people, she had her own talk show to keep everyone informed, she has already been in departments under government and has some sort of experience already

    Like 28
    Dislike 30
  8. hell no says:


    Like 6
    Dislike 51
  9. waylox says:

    How ayo could forget the baldheaded woman?

    Like 5
    Dislike 13
  10. LOL says:

    The good the bad the ugly and the ungrateful

    Like 1
    Dislike 9
  11. Mindful says:

    A great article keep it up.A pity some readers don’t understand the perspective you are coming from.

    Like 12
    Dislike 1
  12. Watchful Eyes says:

    Interesting to see that are all “S’s”. All of them, their name starts with S. Shaina, Sandy, Sharie, Shereen. Is this a coincidence or is their more to it that meets the eye?? Could we end up with 4 women at large?? Humm, Watchful eyes will continue watching.

    Like 28
  13. ok says:

    I commend all these ladies for stepping up to the plate. They all regardless of party affiliation share a common interest and that is serving their country.

    One has a leader who is a womanizer, a bully, and questionable in other areas so can’t support anyone following that kind of leadership. She thinks she is serving her country but will soon learn she serving him.

    Like 14
    Dislike 6
  14. Ausar says:

    “Watchful Eyes”, it would be a great day if such became a reality.

    However, I see conflicts from among those who would claim “gender” discrimination!

  15. man says:

    woman like too much confusion

    Like 4
    Dislike 14
  16. Sperm says:

    Did Sandy Harriman sat the big bar exam

    Like 2
    Dislike 12
  17. Longshanks says:

    Some dodgy calculations of probability here, assuming that each candidate has an equal opportunity of election based purely on dividing by the total number of candidates.

    Would advise against BVI News running a betting exchange on elections.

    Like 5
    Dislike 3
  18. BVI says:


    Like 6
    Dislike 12
  19. Political Obsever (PO) says:

    The VI has adult suffrage, ie, generally both men and women above a certain age has the right to vote and to stand for election. In regards to running for elected office, women and men should be on equal footing, competiting and being elected on the same merit as men does. Our mothers, grandmothers, daughters, grand daughters, nieces, cousins, friends, coworkers…..etc should be able to compete for political office on the same equal footing as men. Women have value and worth.

  20. Caramel Diva says:

    (Shaina Smith) “I will work with my team to see a system implemented where instead of imprisoning a parent for unpaid child support it will be deducted from their pay. This is a much better scenario,” Smith said.

    This is already a law. just implemented December, 2018.

    • @carmel diva says:

      The law was passed. However, the policies and other mechanisms to enforce the same has not been created to bring the law to life. So there is work to be done to take the much needed legislation from law to practice.

  21. Five? says:

    Want about the RAA gyal?

    Like 1
    Dislike 2
  22. Guy Hill says:

    Women in government are bad news for corruption.There is a tendency for women to be less corruptible than men in life and politics. Bring the arguments.

    Like 11
    Dislike 2
    • @Guy Hill says:

      @Guy Hill, corruption runs between men and women. There are no Pilates here. Regardless of whom (men or women) is in power, controlling corruption rests with aggressive oversight, having a zero tolerance for corruption, committing to prevent and root out corruption, giving the accused due process in court, bringing down the hammer on the guilty, shaming the guilty, and the electorate/ community staying engaged.

      Like 2
      Dislike 2
      • Facts says:

        Check the actual global statistics on women in power before you disagree. Women will call stuff out while men sit silently and watch. Vote an all female slate people!

  23. CW says:

    Shereen has always been a positive influence anyplace she has been. Give her the chance to help the sister islands!!

    Like 11
    Dislike 11
  24. Political Intelligence says:

    Of the four ladies mentioned, the two leading females would be Sandy Underhill and Shaina Smith.
    The bottom are De Castro and Flax Charles.

    Concentrating on the top two of the four. Shaina is in the wrong party (as Walwyn makes the best leader). Underhill is in the best party and has the qualifications and experience, but her attitude negates this fact.

    The NDP should have place Shaina to run at large instead of bringing in Creque for one example. Underhill might edge Shaina as she (Underhill) is in the best party.

    I aint voting for Underhill, Shaina and no other one running At large from a party. Only walwyn may get my vote, if i see a viable independant candidate like Dancia i voting for so. Otherwise, for any lack of option, I leaving it blank.

    Like 5
    Dislike 11
  25. E Vanpool says:

    Thanks to much personal growth, acquired knowledge, intellectual, political and human maturity, this year i’ll be voting for the persons who demonstrate and or exemplify the following:

    A potential Leader not in love with money, but in love with justice.

    A potential Leader not in love with privilege and prestige, but who are humbler than the homeless beggar.

    A potential leader who is comfortable in the halls of laws and justice, or in the ghetto of the rejected.

    A potential leader not in love with publicity, but in love with humanity.

    A potential leader not in love with self fulfilment, but in ensuring all others are fulfilled first.

    A potential leader not in love with the well off, but in love with enabling the least to become well off.

    A potential Leader who not only hates injustice, but fights the unjust in the interest of the just.

    If a leader can adequately accomplish all these ideals, the state of the union will be far improved, and a better place to live than in right now is.

    • Yep says:

      This is the way to go. If they’re in it for the love of this country especially in the state that it is in now anyone should be able to work with anyone.

  26. Virgin Islander says:

    I resent the headline. It implies that we should choose one of them. They are better than all the men. That’s four at large votes. right there.

  27. @Virgin Islander says:

    Agreed, The four Women is better than the Men. I wish all four of the Women was running for Premier. Ladies,2019 is Women’s year.Look at all the Women who made it to the Senate and Congress. Four Women is running for President.

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  28. Haha says:

    I will give it to sandy

Leave a Comment