Advocating on various bills, hosting a first Business Solutions Forum in collaboration with the Premier’s Office, increasing awareness of the Multi-Employer Pension Plan and launching a new website as well as a ‘Visit BVI’ magazine are some of the key accomplishments of the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association (BVICCHA) for 2019.
The BVICCHA, headed by Interim Chairperson Shaina M. Smith, noted in a press release today, December 22, 2019 that as it nears the close of another year, it’s a season of reflection as well as celebration.
"Businesses are the backbone of our economy producing goods, services, employment and tax revenue and we at the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association salute you as the unsung heroes of our economic recovery over the last two years. We are happy to have been your proactive voice for a more business-friendly environment in 2019 and with your valuable support, were able to accomplish a few key outcomes,” the press release stated.
The BVICCHA said this year it advocated on various bills such as: Liquor License, E-Commerce, National Shutdown Guidelines, Consumer Protection, National ICT Policy, Trade Policy and held meetings with various Government stakeholders.
It also said it hosted the first Business Solutions Forum in collaboration with the Premier’s Office where business leaders recommended solutions to the Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) and top management of the Public Service on current issues in the Charter Yacht, Environmental, Hospitality and Construction industries and challenges to the ease of doing business.
It further said it increased awareness of the Multi-Employer Pension Plan that “enables even the smallest business to be in compliance with the 2010 Labour Code that requires every employer to have a pension plan.”
Added to the list of accomplishments for 2019 were the launching of a new website with enhanced business directory services for greater member engagement and marketing opportunities and the new Visit BVI magazine for hotel and guest accommodations.
The BVICCHA said it was proud to also support the National Culinary Team’s success at the annual Taste of the Caribbean competition in June 2019 in Miami, Florida, “where regional culinary ‘best of the best’ meet.”
It said it is now encouraged to work towards the expansion of The BVI National Culinary Team to continue to build and grow a local culinary arts workforce.
A look into the future
“As we look to the future, your business’ success is our business, and we are planning to build more value into your membership and restore confidence in the Association by empowering, equipping and educating business owners through improved and new activities, events and programmes,” the BVICCHA press release stated.
It said the Association will kick off the year with its Annual General Meeting and Board of Directors election in the first quarter of 2020.
Other items on the agenda for the future include continuing advocacy on matters that facilitate the ‘Ease of Doing Business’, conducting quarterly topical forums and industry meetings, producing a Business Learning Series and staging the Buy BVI Trade Show.
The BVICCHA also wants to engage more members on the Sister Islands and foster Community Service through mentorship in its Youth Entrepreneurship programme.
It intends to work closely in the “Tourism Product and Destination Promotion” with BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Week Festival, which will be celebrating 50 years in 2021.
Other agenda items include the launch of the Crime Stoppers programme “to advocate for the Virgin Islands to be a safe place to live and do business in.”
At the end of the year, according to the BVICCHA, it will have the annual Business Awards and 50th Anniversary Gala to recognise excellence in business leadership and past volunteers and supporters to the BVICCHA’s success over the last 50 years.
The BVICCHA is encouraging entrepreneurs to get involved and “make joining or renewing your membership with the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association one of your new year’s resolutions because united we become a driving force for the socio-economic growth of the Virgin Islands.” Persons wishing to join the BVICCHA can visit the Chamber’s website at www.bviccha.org for more information.
“As we turn the corner into a new decade of the 21st Century, remember these words from John D. Rockefeller, "Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great." We wish businesses and the community of loyal patrons who support us across the Virgin Islands a memorable and joyous holiday season and a bright and prosperous 2020,” the press release concluded.