New chamber president looks to Cuba

New Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce president Chris Duggan said the business group has set its sights on Cuba, just as it has promoted trade with Panama.

“Over the years, the chamber has conducted trade missions and organised local exhibitions to showcase products and services with such regional and global partners as the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Costa Rica and, in recent years, Panama. It is now time to look north to one of our closest neighbours, Cuba, and, east, to the Middle East,” he said during his acceptance speech at the chamber’s annual general meeting Wednesday.

Mr. Duggan said the chamber will be arranging a trade mission to Cuba in partnership with the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Additionally, he and Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Wil Pineau will travel to Doha, Qatar in April to attend the 8th World Chambers Congress, organised by the International Chamber of Commerce and the ICC World Chambers Federation.

“While in Qatar, we intend to establish relationships with the United Kingdom Trade Office and to meet with regional business officials while actively promoting Cayman as a beneficial place to do business,” Mr. Duggan said.

He listed three areas of focus in the upcoming year. First, the chamber will host candidate forums ahead of the May 2013 general elections. Second, the chamber will explore the future development of “its own multi-use, centrally located building”. Third, the chamber will create a committee to analyse the territory’s budget and recommend ways to govern in accordance with the UK’s Framework for Fiscal Responsibility.

In his farewell message, outgoing president David Kirkaldy highlighted some of the organisation’s accomplishments during the past year, such as the formation of a Small Business Committee and, recently, a Producers Committee. “I am pleased to report that the SBC has produced a preliminary report, and that its findings supported the chamber feedback into the upcoming revision of the Trade and Business Licensing Law,” he said.

Mr. Kirkaldy was disappointed that the organisation was not able to produce a health insurance plan for chamber members this year, but said that will happen.

During the meeting at the chamber’s headquarters in Governors Square, members elected Barry Bodden as vice president, setting him up to be president in the future. Johann Moxam ascended to president-elect. Wayne Cowan was re-elected treasurer. Katie O’Neill, Paul Pearson and Roger Ponce were elected as councillors.

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