By Kamal Haynes, BVI News Staff
Moments after the BVI News report that government legislator Shereen Flax-Charles was being bumped from the Junior Minister for Tourism portfolio, Premier Andrew Fahie has confirmed the reshuffle with his administration.
In a media release on Tuesday, November 26, Fahie — who is also the Tourism Minister — said that effective November 25, first-term legislators Sharie DeCastro and Flax-Charles will swap portfolios.
This means Flax-Charles is officially reassigned as Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development while DeCastro is reassigned as the 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,” the Premier claimed.
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Information reaching BVI News is that Premier Andrew Fahie will be removing Territorial At-Large Representative Shereen Flax Charles from the post of Junior Minister of Tourism.
This is according to highly-placed sources who shared the information on the condition of anonymity because of fear of victimization from the Fahie administration.
Our news centre was told that the reported plan to remove the junior minister from the post is believed to be a form of punishment which reportedly stems from comments she made in a recent sitting of House of Assembly.
In addressing the House, Flax-Charles — who is a resident of Virgin Gorda — had decried the poor state of the roadway leading to the Taddy Bay International Airport on the sister island and had also voiced concern about the parking lot which needed paving.
Inside sources within the VIP camp told BVI News that her comments reportedly did not sit well with the Chairman of the BVI Ports Authority, Nathaniel Isaac.
Isaac — who served as President of Fahie’s First District Campaign Committee during the recent general elections — reportedly expressed disapproval at the comments while he and a delegation of local tourism officials attended the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association conference in Puerto Rico back in October.
In a room which was at the time occupied by the Premier and other delegates, Isaac reportedly told the Junior Minister that she has been publicly speaking about Virda Gorda ‘too often’. Sources said he further told the junior minister to desist from the practice.
It is reported that Isaacs also claimed responsibility for getting the junior minister elected and therefore demanded her compliance. When BVI News contacted Isaacs on whether he made the aforementioned statements, he said: “I have no comment”.
BVI News now understands that the reported discord within the Fahie administration has set plans in motion to relocate Flax-Charles to the role of Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development and have Territorial At-Large Representative Sharie DeCastro assume the role of Junior Minister for Tourism.
Tourism officials mum
When contacted, Flax-Charles declined to comment on the matter; only stating that she has not received any written notice that would indicate any switch in portfolios.
A WhatsApp message sent to Premier Fahie by BVI News seeking confirmation was not answered up to publication time.
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