Then-Junior Minister for Tourism Shereen Flax-Charles claimed during a House of Assembly meeting on Nov. 14 that the chairman of an unspecified board made a “disrespectful” comment instructing her to cease mentioning her home district of Virgin Gorda.
Ms. Flax-Charles (R-at large) said that in a meeting with the board to discuss various projects to bring revenue to the territory, the chairman told her, “‘I don’t want to hear Virgin Gorda coming out of your mouth: Virgin Gorda is coming out of your mouth too often.’”
She also suggested that sexism was behind the “unconscionable” and “disrespectful” comment.
“That chairperson would not have said that to a male member of the House of Assembly,” she said.
The at-large representative added that in response she stood up and “put that chairperson in his place.”
“We cannot demand that someone not speak the name of one of all beautiful islands or one of our districts or a village in or what district,” she said. “It is something that should never have happened. And I hope it never ever happens either to me or any other member or anyone in this country.”
Toad Hall purchase
In other remarks, Ms. Flax-Charles also praised recent government actions and pledges related to tourism, including the decision to purchase Toad Hall in Virgin Gorda.
She went on to express support for certain legislative priorities laid out in the Speech from the Throne, including anti-visitor-harassment laws and Airbnb tax legislation that she said “will bring funds into the coffers of government” from the roughly 300 properties listed on Airbnb in the territory.
Ms. Flax-Charles also said she had received designs and costs for the Trellis Bay visitors centre from Opposition Leader Marlon Penn, who represents District Eight, and that plans to complete the centre were ongoing.
On Tuesday, Premier Andrew Fahie announced that Ms. Flax-Charles was reassigned to the position of junior minister of trade and economic development in a switch with now-Junior Minister for Tourism Shari de Castro.