A new Chamber of Commerce executive board was elected at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting held 30 November at the Wharf Restaurant.
During the meeting, Morgan DaCosta, who had been president-elect took over from Joey Hew as Chamber of Commerce president. Angelyn Hernandez moved from vice-president to president-elect.
While some of the other executive held over, the Chamber members voted for a new vice president (James Tibbetts), a new secretary (James O’Neill) and four new council members (Brian Barnes, James Bovell, Gerry Kirkconnell and Woody Foster).
In his acceptance speech, Mr. DaCosta called on Chamber members to more vocal about their needs and concerns.
‘In my opinion, the Chamber is at its best when it clearly represents the wishes of the membership when reaching major policy decision, and then communicates these messages clearly,’ he said. ‘We can only develop policy, however, if we understand the concerns of the members, examine strategies, and secure the resources to address them.’
Saying the Chamber must not forget about the Sister Islands, Mr. DaCosta said he is proposing a special Cayman Brac Trade Show in 2006 to encourage entrepreneurs and business to showcase their products and services to the residents of that island.
Mr. DaCosta also stressed the importance of identifying new trade links to purchase products and services more affordably. To that end, Mr. DaCosta announced intentions to organise a trade mission in 2006 to Panama, which he called a leading transhipment point for many of the world’s major manufacturers.
Another plan of the Chamber under Mr. DaCosta’s presidency is to establish an Economic Development Council. The council would be comprised of business leaders from various sectors, and Mr. DaCosta said past Chamber president Conor O’Dea had been chosen to chair the Council.
‘They will be charged with developing economic strategies and a plan for the future as well as developing a pre-budge submission that will provide members and the Government with a clear picture of the performance of the private sector and forecasts of potential roadblocks,’ he said.
Mr. DaCosta said other goals of the Chamber in 2006 include the commission of the Chamber’s fourth Salary and Benefits Survey, and supporting the work started of the Non-Governmental Constitutional Working Group with regard to the modernisation of the Constitution
In his report of the Chamber’s activities for the 2004/05 year, Chief Executive Wil Pineau noted the important role the Chamber played in the recovery from Hurricane Ivan.
Mr. Pineau noted that members of the Chamber executive served on key recovery subcommittees after Ivan. He also said that the Chamber played significant post-Ivan roles in gathering and disseminating information, in offering temporary office accommodations to essential organisations, in cleaning up the island to prepare it for the return of cruise ship passengers after the storm.
Pointing to an area of significant development, Mr. Pineau commented on the Chamber’s website.
‘Launched in March 2003, it has become the most important communication tool, with the online business directory recording 1.8 million referrals between January 2004 and November 2005,’ he said.
Mr. Pineau said there were plans to completely redo the website to make it more user-friendly and interactive in the near future.
Mr. Pineau thanked the hard-working staff of the Chamber, which he noted had been decreased to only three full-time members after Hurricane Ivan.