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On Island Profile: Myrtle Barry

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Dec. 30, 2007 — It took St. John's property-tax revaluation issues to push Myrtle Barry out of her shell.
"I'm a quiet, shy person," she says.
Barry, 46, serves as the chairwoman of the Unity Day Group's property-tax committee. As soon as the issue began to make waves, she knew that revaluation wouldn't be good for St. John, she says.
"I kept my eyes on it like a hawk," she says.
She decided she needed to know more about the issue, so she contacted several long-established St. John real-estate agencies.
Expressing concerns shared by many St. John residents, Barry says she fears the recent property-tax revaluation — which most observers say will result in much higher taxes — will force St. John residents out of their homes.
While Barry was already working on the property-tax revaluation issue, she began to make a public name for herself when the V.I. Waste Management Authority clamped down on tire disposal on St. John.
As manager of the family-owned E&C gas station in Pine Peace, she had plenty of old tires on hand. She quickly spoke out at several community meetings on the subject.
"It affected my company directly," she says, explaining why she got involved.
Disposing of tires by shipping them off island is the right thing to do, she says.
Barry went to work for E&C in 1990. The company was founded by her father, the late Josephus Williams, in 1984, and is now owned by Barry; her sister, Chris Todman; and her brothers, Joe and John Williams.
"I like working with my family," she says. "I get to see them every day."
Barry was born on St. John but immediately rushed off to St. Thomas' Knud Hansen Hospital because she was sick. She graduated from the then-College of the Virgin Islands with a bachelor's degree in business administration. She first worked as a receptionist at Gallow's Point Resort before getting a job as an office manager for CDC Development.
Barry says she likes office work, but wishes she had more time to get out of the back office to meet the customers. Early on, she says, she worked as a gas attendant at E&C, a job she enjoyed because it was less stressful and she met lots of people.
She is married to Jerome Barry, and the couple has one son, Jeromy, 8. She's active in her church, the Church of Apostles Doctrine, which serves as her "source of happiness and peace of mind."
Barry says that she lives her life according to the scripture.
And in her spare time?
"I have no spare time, thanks to the property tax," she says.
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