by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Mr. Michael Davis is the new President of the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce (SKNCIC) succeeding Mrs. Giselle Matthews, who served a two-year term (2020-2022) as President during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new President took his post at the Annual General Meeting for the SKNCIC held on Thursday, February 24, 2022, with a new board of 12 individuals within the business community.
Mrs. Matthews served her tenure during a trying time for local business during the pandemic, which affected the local spending and the spending from tourism as that sector suffered significant setbacks.
Outgoing President, Mrs. Matthews, explained some of the chamber’s efforts in helping the economy adjust during her tenure as President.
“Evidence of our advocacy was our collaboration with the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis via the SKN Liaison Committee being launched to reopen the stayover passengers and the cruise industry, the provision of business support systems, entrepreneurship and advisory services to our Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) directly and indirectly through our development partners and embassies. Our recent engagement with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs and Labour on the Supply Chain Working Group to mitigate the impacts of the global supply chain challenges, bottlenecks on food supplies and price on consumer goods to bring some relief to households. This work is obviously ongoing.”
Mr. Davis hopes to continue the work the Chamber has been doing to better secure the future of local businesses with some emphasis on Nevis.
“The hope is that we continue to see the light at the end of the tunnel and all things being equal, that we continue to see some improvement in the economic environment. And much of what we are doing as a Chamber is to see how best we can provide the level of service to our members to assist in their respective growth. One of the first initiatives that we looked at is the expansion of the services that we’re offering to the Nevis business community by the opening of the business centre, and that is significantly geared towards assisting in the growth and stimulation of our businesses,” said Davis.
Part of their efforts going forward is having a more hands-on approach to consultation for effective and efficient business practices to help the local economy improve and evolve.
“[People need] that help at this point in time to ensure that they can build within their businesses, the level of resilience needed and by ensuring that they have solid business advice and solid accounting practices to assist them in building the resolve needed to ensure that they stay afloat.”
Mrs. Matthews said that ongoing work also continues in expanding the capabilities of local businesses, especially those in the agriculture sector, focusing on training in the manufacturing of byproducts.
“The chamber has been an active discussion with our regional development partners to commence training and export readiness for manufacturers and agro-processors immersed in the production of speciality foods and beverages in March 2022. While simultaneously working with our ambassadors and high commissions to facilitate overseas markets and inward investment opportunities for these small entrepreneurs.”
Other persons elected to the Board of Directors are Mr. Trevor Blake– Vice President; Ms. Murlita Percival – Treasurer; Mrs. Giselle Matthews – Immediate Past President; Ms. Kara Daly – Director; Ms. Sonya Parry – Director; Ms. Patricia Walters – Director; Ms. Natalie John – Director; Mr. Steve Tyson – Director; Mr. Kevin Thompson – Director, Mr. Donald Thompson – Director; Mr. Kevin Taylor – Director, Responsible for the Manufacturing Division and Mr. Kevin Hope – Executive Director.
The Board of Directors will serve for the period 2022 to 2023.