June 8, 2007
By George, Chamber of Commerce will not be used as a political tool


The Chamber of Industry and Commerce will not be used as a tool by political organizations and will resolutely pursue its purpose – representing businesses!{{more}}

This was the firm assurance given by new president Jerry George following the first meeting of the newly elected executive last Tuesday, June 05th .

George said that his executive will be looking to reshape the image of the Chamber of Commerce and allow it to perform to its best capacity.

George also hinted at concerns about how decisions are made and disbursed from the Chamber.

“We are also going to ensure that all decision making in the Chamber and all announcements coming out of the Chamber reflect the decision of the council of the chamber,” George said.

Over the last two weeks controversy erupted when immediate past Chamber president Martin Bollers issued a press release announcing that the Chamber did not support the New Democratic Party’s call for a shut down of the city planned for today, Friday, June 8.

The release stated that the Chamber came to its conclusion that closing to the public would not be an appropriate reaction to the issues raised in a presentation made by the Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace to the Chamber based on research conducted on the issues of Bananas, The Kingstown Medical College and VAT.

Bollers later claimed that his statement was made unilaterally and did not reflect the opinion of the Chamber.

George said that all could be sure that any statement that he makes on the behalf of the Chamber will represent the views and wishes of its members.

“I can’t see myself operating in any other fashion. It is incumbent on anyone who sits in an organization in the position of President that they reflect the thinking of the organization and not their own thinking,” George said.

As for the call by the opposition to shut down the town, George said that the Chamber believes that every business should take what action they deem necessary on the issue.

He also noted that the recent implementation of the Value Added Tax system was high on the agenda of the Chamber. He said that while some of the issues may be simple, many of the VAT related issues affecting the Chamber’s membership are very complex.

“We plan to be speaking with the VAT Unit on this matter, so that we could engage them on a continuous basis,” he said.

George, a telecommunications executive said that he believes that the Chamber can be beneficial to the nation on a whole in the comprehension of VAT related issues – not just the business community.

He said that the Chamber would set up a VAT monitoring committee to keep abreast of VAT related issues.

He also announced that the Chamber would be hosting a retreat for its members on June 16 so that they could voice their concerns and ideas for the way forward of the organization. (KJ)