|Provo Chamber has inagural '10 meeting|
|Wednesday, 03 February 2010 20:00|
After several months of stagnation, the Provo Chamber of Commerce kicked off the new year by hitting the restart button.
Following the Sept. 7 election of a new board and hopes of creating greater momentum for the chamber, only three months later a new set of leaders was presented at the Feb. 1 chamber meeting.
Tanya Parnell, who was elected as vice president in 2009, opened the meeting as the new president of the chamber. She briefly acknowledged the board’s decision to remove Albray Butterfield Jr. as president moved her into the lead position. Advisory Board member Lester Forman was chosen to replace Parnell as the new vice president. Secretary Lavine Lammy as well as Treasurer Wendy Hill stayed in place, along with an Advisory Board including the previous president Tina Fennimore, John Hartley and Ron Shaw, to help move the group’s agenda forward.
“Open, Open, Open” was the sentiment of Parnell in her opening remarks. “We are determined to keep a float, despite the challenging times,” Parnell said. “Although the leadership has changed,” Parnell said in her address to the dozen members in attendance, “our vision and mission remain the same.” The group, comprised of various individuals from the local business community, had high hopes in September of bringing the chamber back to its glory from years past. Getting straight into the game after the quick restart, the meeting opened the door for members to bring forth the issues they would like the chamber to take forward and address with the interim government, taking on their mission of rebuilding trust in the TCI economy.
While the majority of issues brought up by chamber members dealt with public administration, the key issue which stood before all others was the marketing of the country. “Without people coming to the country, all the other things don’t matter,” one member pointed out.
Many members of the chamber voiced concerns about the lack of money and attention being spent on promoting the country. In September, after revamping the tourist board, the governor put together a working group under the chairmanship of Clive Stanbrook tasked with developing a new marketing strategy for the country.
The group presented their findings to the Advisory Council in December where it was reported they “discussed the draft Tourism Working Group report and commented on the importance of designing a tourism strategy that was affordable. “ The Council also, ”made suggestions for ensuring that all relevant sectors were involved in the development and decision making process of the TCI’s tourism strategy.”
For the local business community struggling to stay alive, they are still waiting for a more specific plan of how they are going to being more people to the island . “We need to be drumming up business to bring tourists to the TCI,” another member said.
Immigration issues raised a big red flag with the members, who noted that the current system as a hindrance to growth of local businesses. Members mentioned that in some cases it takes months for paperwork to be processed, causing huge financial strains on their businesses.
What appears to be a lack of consistency or rules with regard to decisions on who gets what type of permits and who does not also was raised as a major concern. The repatriation bond was also referred to as a financial strain, especially for those who are required repeatedly to pay the fees, never receiving fees on ex-employees who have left the country never being returned.
An assessment of the 2004 Employment Ordinance was also suggested, pointing to shortcomings in the rights of employers, with some saying it is almost impossible to run a small business with the current ordinance.
High prices of staples such as gas, electricity and other items due to increased stevedoring were also high on the list of concerns.
Taxes were also a hot button issue for local business owners who were concerned at the suggestion of new taxes, which would put them under further financial pressure.
The chamber board listened and noted all the issues of its members and hopes to be able to make a priority list and agenda of how they can address these concerns with the current administration. Lester Forman did offer hope in his closing comments, saying reform is happening, and he can see the light at the end of the tunnel: “We believe better times are ahead.”
Latest Local News
Tourist Board expands adding two new staff members
The Turks and Caicos Tourist Board announced this week it welcomed two new staff members to further More...
Cruise terminal to open April 8
Beginning Monday, April 8, thousands of cruise ship passengers will again begin to enjoy the More...
2013 TCI Elecrotal List Available
TCI 2013 Electors’ Register is Ready! Supervisor of Elections Mr. Dudley Lewis has announced More...
Misick Declared By-Election Winner
Supervisor of Elections Dudley Lewis has advised that the Progressive National Party's (PNP) Amanda More...
New Board leads TCHTA
On Wednesday, March 13, Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association (TCHTA) bid farewell to its More...