Elizabeth Watley, a local Soca artist and daughter of former Senator Alicia Hansen, has been appointed by Governor Albert Bryan as assistant commissioner of the Department of Tourism, sources with knowledge of the matter told The Consortium late Monday. Soon after, the appointment was confirmed by Government House and D.O.T. Commissioner designee Joseph Boschulte.
The role of assistant commissioner, especially for the Department of Tourism, is critical, as the person chosen is oftentimes the acting commissioner. That’s because D.O.T. commissioners travel frequently and are in need of a person who boasts similar qualifications to run the department while the commissioner is on duty off island.
Currently, Mr. Boschulte is in Canada attending the Routes Americas Conference 2019, which is taking place in Québec City and is described as an “opportunity to meet with senior decision makers from the region’s airlines, airports and destinations to discuss new market opportunities and the evolution of existing services.”
The description further states that the Routes Americas event connects attendees “with the region’s leading airlines, airports and tourism authorities, enabling you to build high-value relationships with some of the most influential aviation professionals from across the region.”
Mr. Boschulte told The Consortium that Ms. Watley started her job as assistant commissioner on Monday, and that Joyce Dore-Griffin, who served as the assistant commissioner during the Mapp administration, was let go on Friday.
Asked whether a release would be issued on Ms. Watley, which would give the public an insight on her qualifications to run the Department of Tourism, Richard Motta, the Bryan administration’s communications director, said the administration did not want to set the precedent of naming every single hire — only those in key positions. Pressed to explain, as the assistant commissioner for the Department of Tourism — the USVI’s most valuable product — is a key position, Mr. Motta said some departments have two assistant commissioners. He later stated that commissioners, when they are headed off island, can also name a deputy commissioner to lead the department.
Normally, when a commissioner is off island, the assistant commissioner is named the acting commissioner; not the deputy commissioner, as the deputy commissioner’s position is below that of the assistant commissioner. Mr. Motta directed The Consortium to D.O.T. for further questions on the matter.
On her LinkedIn page as of early Tuesday, Ms. Watley included in her portfolio CEO of Riddim Makerz, a company described as “Everything Entertainment & Promotion. She is listed as the president and owner of the “Prestige Carnival Troupe”, (2012 to present); a health surveillance monitor at the Department of Health beginning in 2011, a Soca artist with Outa Limitz Band from 2004, and a compliance monitor at the Law Enforcement Planning Commission from 2009-2011.