New ministry-level leadership in British Virgin Islands tourism
The British Virgin Islands has new leadership in the pivotal Tourism sector with the recent election of Premier and Minister responsible for Tourism, Hon. Andrew A. Fahie and Territorial At-Large Representative and Junior Minister for Tourism, Hon. Shereen Flax-Charles. The British Overseas Territory of the Virgin Islands held elections on Monday, February 25th. Under Fahie’s leadership, the Virgin Islands Party took eight of the 13 seats held by elected members of the Territory’s House of Assembly. He was sworn in as Premier by Governor Augustus Jaspert on February 26th. Mrs. Flax-Charles was subsequently named Junior Minister for Tourism to assist Premier Fahie in handling the tourism portfolio.
A veteran legislator, Hon. Fahie has served in the House of Assembly (previously called the Legislative Council) for the past 20 years as the representative for the First Electoral District. He served as Minister for Education and Culture from 2000-2003 and again from 2007-2011, and as Leader of the Opposition from 2017-2018. Hon. Fahie is a former educator and businessman.
Mrs. Flax-Charles has been involved in the tourism industry from childhood, having worked at the Fischer’s Cove Beach Hotel in Virgin Gorda, which is owned by her parents. The first-time legislator is a business woman who worked full time at the BVI Tourist Board in the capacities of Sister Islands Tourism Development Manager and Projects Manager for almost 20 years. She is well known as a singer with her band “It’s a Secret” and as calypsonian Queen Shereen.
In a statement from the Premier’s Office today, Hon. Fahie said, “I am a proud product of the First District which has always been a major hub of tourism activity in our Territory, with several hotels and villas, yacht charter companies, boat and vehicle rentals, marinas as well as one of the primary ports of entry at West End.
I am committing to being laser-focused on Tourism as a driver of economic development in these Virgin Islands. My Government will do its best to provide the BVI Tourist Board with all the resources necessary to foster the sustainable development of tourism in the BVI for the benefit of all residents.”
Hon. Flax-Charles said, “As Junior Minister for Tourism, the Premier has charged me with ensuring that policies and programmes aimed at the growth and development of this very critical sector are executed. The Premier knows that I am very passionate about tourism and therefore this is a responsibility which I take very seriously. I am making a commitment that with the assistance of the BVI Tourist Board, we will deliver on our promises to make this one of the most vibrant tourism economies in the region and the world.”
The duo along with the other members of the new government has already begun their review of the industry including meetings with key tourism industry partners, briefings by the BVI Tourist Board and inspection of key tourism facilities, with a view to enacting policies that will chart the way forward for tourism in the British Virgin Islands for the foreseeable future.