Department of Trade, Investment, Promotion and Consumer Affairs
House of Assembly
Release Date:
Thursday, 10 September 2020 - 10:00pm



10th September, 2020


Good day British Virgin Islands,

I am Shereen Flax-Charles, Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development and a representative of this beautiful Territory at large.

I am proud of my duty as an elected official it has given me a newfound appreciation ofthe diversity, beauty and potential of our small group of islands.

But beyond my responsibilities as a leader, I am much more simply a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt and so much more. 

At their deepest, our lives are defined not only by our actions, but also by the relationships which surround us.

Our love for our family, our respect for our colleagues, the joy we find out the companionship of our friends; these are the ties that bind us and the interwoven threads that lend colour to the tapestry of BVI life.

Today I am calling on everyone in these islands to remember that our lives are shared with those lives around us. 

We have all been updated as to the growing number of active COVID-19 cases in the BVI.

I won’t mince words.

Selfishness and greed have brought our valiant efforts as a community to a breaking point. As leaders we were not without our faults, and not all in our midst can say that they remained fully compliant with safety measures.

Yet, we were tasting the freedom that we had deserved. Though the economy poses its own unique and monumental challenges, our public health was a beacon across the region. We stood without any active cases and were approaching a soft reopening of businesses, schools and the domestic market.

Now we have been forced to return to stricter measures as the situation intensifies.

This is the fault of a callous, destructive criminal element. These individuals do not deserve our protection. The men and women, however they are involved in the smuggling and harbouring of individuals are endangering our lives and our livelihoods.

We must hang the blame for our predicament squarely at their feet. Our children, our parents, our jobs; are now in jeopardy because they valued ill-gotten money and themselves over all of us. 

Now you are being called on to fight your hardest to protect our BVI. Our own actions are key to determining how quickly we can return to our previous comforts.

The measures in place do not exist to make us uncomfortable but are here to prevent the transmission of this harmful virus. 

Wearing our masks has not been proven to do us any respiratory harm, but it is one of the most defensive measures against contaminating each other. If you are unsure about the safe way to wear yours masks, take the time to read up on safe masks as well as how to wear, reuse and dispose of them safely.

Remember to wash your hands and face as often as possible. Sanitising the hands is a critical part of maintaining the hygienic standards that reduce the spread of any viral disease. 

Practice social distancing. This feels contradictory to who we may be as Caribbean people, but we must adopt this important step to protect ourselves and those around us.

Finally, I am pleading with you all to be vigilant. If you are experience symptoms of COVID-19 or suspect that you may have been at risk do contact please call the COVID-19 hotline - 852-7650

If you are aware of any illegal activity that is threatening our public health, including illegal boat travel, smuggling or harbouring persons from overseas, get in contact with the police, myself or any official you trust.

The situation is escalating, but hope is not lost. If we are steadfast and resolute, we still can deny this virus its victory over the BVI. 

Our BVI is incomparable. We must fight to protect it at all costs.