Economy, education and pension reform top priorities for Chamber

The economy, education, pension reform and health insurance as well as membership and industry engagement are among the top priorities for the Chamber of Commerce this year, president Mike Gibbs said at its annual general meeting last week.

The Chamber’s relationship with government, meanwhile, would continue to be at the forefront of its advocacy agenda.

“We intend to continue our quarterly meetings with Cabinet, monthly meetings with WORC (Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman) and meetings with other government ministries and departments as necessary, to share your views and to provide feedback on key policy and public sector administrative and regulatory matters,” he said at the AGM.

In a press release, the Chamber said for the first time in its history four industry associations will be represented on its council.

“Many of the issues discussed by industry associations are similar in nature to the concerns of our members,” Gibbs said. “We therefore feel strongly that the Chamber can serve as a coordinating body to identify the macro-socio-economic issues of common concern so that the private sector’s voice is unified on key topics.”

The Chamber said it will continue its practice of hosting a series of election forums in each of the 19 constituencies. These candidates’ forums will take place shortly.

Gibbs said another focus for 2021 will be to elevate the status of the Chamber within the community.

“[P]eople are still unfamiliar with the good work that we do and the value that we provide to our members and, by extension, the community,” he said. “For example, our Training Centre, the Mentoring programme, Leadership Cayman, the Careers Expo and the island wide clean-up are just some of the ongoing programmes that are integral to the Chamber’s work.”

New members voted onto the council at the AGM include Omari Corbin, retail and country head at RBC Royal Bank of Canada; Richard Harrison, CEO of Greentech; Marc Langevin, general manager of The Ritz-Carlton; Nelson Dilbert, owner of Cayman Spirits Company, who was confirmed as vice president; and Joanne Lawson, chief of staff at DART, who was elected as secretary.

They will join Gibbs, a consultant with Kensington Management Group, and other council members Troy Burke, Dave Johnston, Jennifer Cowdroy, president-elect Shomari Scott, treasurer Colin Robinson and immediate past president Woody Foster.

At the AGM, Foster outlined the Chamber’s work behind the scenes in 2020 to support its members, elected and public sector leaders, the National Emergency Operations Centre, Public Health officials and the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Foster noted that rebuilding Cayman’s economy and businesses would take time, but he was confident that the Chamber could work with elected and government leaders as had happened so many times before in times of national and worldwide economic crisis to restore and rebuild the economy.

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