The House of Assembly voted last Thursday to approve Rosemarie Flax’s appointment as chairwoman of the BVI Electricity Corporation.
In announcing the appointment, Premier Andrew Fahie appeared to address allegations of nepotism and cronyism levied against his administration during a press conference held by members of the opposition the day prior. During the event, Opposition Leader Marlon Penn said that the administration had been appointing unqualified candidates to governmental and statutory board positions, though he did not provide any names.
Mr. Fahie said last Thursday that it was not necessary for the chairperson of the BVIEC to have technical qualifications because the other members of the corporation already have that expertise.
Instead, he said, it is important for the chairperson to have managerial skills.
“As a matter of fact, it is always better when you get some laypersons who are businesspeople, who are experienced people in the community with different mindsets so that they can sit down and deliberate after hearing what the technical person says,” the premier explained. “And taking that [advice into account] to make sure that you get the best decision by the board.”
He went on to describe Ms. Flax, who has worked in the business and financial services sector for years, as a good listener, organiser and manager. Mr. Fahie also expressed desire to pass legislation to help support the BVIEC in transitioning towards renewable energy and away from fossil fuels.
In spite of the opposition’s comments the day before, support for Ms. Flax seemed to be unanimous as HOA members on both sides of the aisle expressed support for her appointment, praising her integrity and managerial skills.
Third District Representative Julian Fraser also went on to highlight the challenges ahead, as the BVIEC has yet to restore electricity to all of the streetlights in the VI, while Health and Social Development Minister Carvin Malone stressed the importance of renewable energy and financial responsibility to the new chairwoman.
Fourth District Representative Mark Vanterpool took issue with the fact that the BVIEC has been without a board for nearly seven months. In April Mr. Fahie announced plans to revoke the board memberships of all government committees and statutory bodies under a new “policy” under which all of the boards’ lifespans would mirror that of the government in power.
The administration still has not appointed new board members to some, like the Climate Change Trust Fund board.