The 131st Annual General Meeting was held on November 25th 2015 at the Bay Gardens Hotel, under the theme “Making it Easier To Do Business in St. Lucia” with Dr. Ernest Hilaire as the Guest Speaker. Mr. Hilaire spoke on the Citizenship by Investment Program.
Mrs. Browne-Weeks takes over from Mr. Gordon Charles of the JQ Charles Group of Companies who served the traditional two terms as President. Joining Mrs. Browne-Weeks on the oldest and most recognizable private sector organization on the island is a mixture of new and old Directors.
The complete Board of Directors are:
President: Esther Browne-Weeks – Eastern Caribbean Financial Holdings Ltd
1St Vice President: Lanfraze Cherubin – Windward and Leeward Brewery Ltd
2nd Vice President: Geraldine Pitt – Cable & Wireless
Immediate Past President: Gordon Charles – J.Q. Charles Group of Companies
Member: Martin Dorville – Consolidated Foods Ltd.
Member: Trevor Louisy – St. Lucia Electricity Services Ltd
Member: Karen Peter – Caribbean Metals Ltd
Member: Sue Monplaisir – 1 Audio Inc.
Member: Ross Gardner – Carasco and Son Ltd
Member: Anya Whitfield – MediaZone Productions Inc.
Member: Thecla Fitz – Lewis Industries Limited
Outgoing President Mr. Gordon Charles in a very structured President’s Message urged the Business Community to invest increased resources in the Chamber of Commerce so that it can improve its service delivery, while pointing out that the approach of the Chamber, though less publicly confrontational was coordinated, organized and focused on producing good results for members and country.
Charles called on Government to provide opportunities for consultation with stakeholders on new policies and laws which will impact them prior to enactment of these new policies and laws. An area which caught many off guard was spoken to by way of a call for action on the performance and outcomes of the education sector.
Mr. Charles made reference to studies which point to poor outcomes for many Secondary school students which has become manifest in poor results and ultimately leading to a labor market skills mismatch in the economy.
Charles did take time to applaud the energy and direction being provided to the Ease of Doing Business Task Force by the Minister of Commerce Emma Hippolyte in the last year, and urged the Customs and Excise Department and the St. Lucia Air and Seaports Authority to continue their good reform work which was already having a positive impact on the Business Community though this was not being reflected in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report.
The Closed Business Session saw the election of the Board of Directors and the presentation of audited financial statements. The Executive Director’s Report was once again presented in the form of a magazine.