Grand Bahama News

Carey re-elected to head GB Chamber of Commerce

James Carey has been re-elected as president of the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce (GBCC) for 2023-2024.

The election took place at the chamber’s annual general meeting at Pelican Bay Hotel.

Carey said he looks forward to completing some outstanding matters that are hampering the island’s businesses.

“There remain a few concerns that we still have to address, including the ease of doing business, the Customs Management Act as it relates to Grand Bahama particularly, and the provisions under the Hawksbill Creek Agreement (HCA),” he said.

“There is also the Grand Bahama Extension of Tax Exemption Bill, 2017 and amendments to certain by-laws that are governing the port area, in particular one that we talk about a lot and that is dilapidated buildings.”

Referring to the additional red tape business owners now have to deal with when clearing customs, due to a third-party company’s involvement in filling out declarations forms, the lack of penalty enforcement as it relates to owners not properly maintaining their properties, and restrictions on business owners under the HCA, Carey said that while the chamber can do its part to resolve these issues, business owners not only need to, but want to hear from the prime minister about these concerns.

He still hopes for a meeting with Prime Minister Philip Davis, which has been requested.

Carey said the new board will seek to take action immediately to find solutions to the issues.

The new slate of officers includes First Vice President Ralph Hepburn, a business and financial consultant; Second Vice President Glennett Fowler, chief executive officer at FOWLCO; Treasurer Carmel Parker-Dean, financial manager at Fidelity Bank; and Secretary Patricia Albury, financial controller at Pelican Bay Hotel.

“We committed to work closely with the government and its agencies, the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), and all those who share in the vision for the advancement of business, improvement of the economy, and thereby our community,” said Carey.

He said the chamber executives will prioritize the needs of small businesses, including mentorship, consultations through the Help Desk, networking opportunities through socials and business meetings, participation in business expeditions whenever practicable, engaging businesses outside the Freeport area, deepening relationships with business partners, and identifying working committees and chairpersons to advance the overall objectives.

The working committees that were established last year will continue for the 2023-2024 term.

They include budget and finance, fundraising and special events, industry and economic development, nominations, public relations and press liaison, small business development, tax and economic research, and membership.

Growing its membership was one of the organization’s priorities, and Carey said the chamber welcomed 23 new members last year.

“This was a very positive growth for us,” he said.

Carey said the push will continue to attract members from the eastern and western districts of the island.

“We are the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce, not the Freeport Chamber of Commerce. So, we will continue to aggressively pursue businesses outside of the Port area proper. This includes settlements like Williams Town, Hunters, Pinder’s Point and, of course, West and East Grand Bahama,” he said.

“We are about business and, at the end of the day, we want to see that our members run successful businesses. It’s all about making money, but we realize that our members are not an island, and we cannot live in isolation.

“We, therefore, have to participate in other things outside of that remit to cause further development.”

Carey said the chamber is open to assisting not only its members but the island’s business community as a whole and encouraged all businesses to support the organization.

“This is our island,” he said. “Let us claim it, let us own it, and let us show that we do.”

In his speech, following his re-election, Carey expressed his appreciation to the outgoing directors and congratulated the six newly elected board members: Sonia Knowles, William Sweeting, Michael Holding, Ineka Johnson, Marvin Basden, and LaShawn Dames.

Eleven people were in the running for first-year board of director positions.

Carey also thanked the second-year serving directors — Allison Levarity, Nikita Mullings, Remiro Russell, and Darius Williams – for their continued support.

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button