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From the Chairman's Desk: The Voice of Business...Can You Hear Us Now?

It is my humble privilege to address you as the new interim Chairman of the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association (BVICCHA) as we are preparing to go into 2020 in a challenging business environment, domestically (recovery) and globally (possible economic slowdown, Brexit, etc.). Firstly, on behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank Ms. Nona Vanterpool for leading the charge as the Chairman for the first year of the current term and we look forward to her continued support as a General Director.

Many stakeholders have been asking what is going on at the Chamber? We have been in a rebuilding mode since the 2017 storms and are now poised and ready to serve our membership and the VI business community with a renewed Vision to be a proactive and confident voice of business and a driving force for business development and economic growth in the Virgin Islands.  
As the Virgin Islands continues to recover and develop over the next five years and beyond, your BVICCHA intends to intentionally represent you as the backbone of the economy - providing goods, services, employment, government revenue and community service. We will continue advocating for sound economic and business policies and legislation that foster a business-friendly environment for your business’ success and expansion - small, medium or large in every industry.

We will be championing the necessity of a long-term National Development Strategy and related industry plans such as the Tourism Sustainability Master Plan and roadmaps for the development of the green (alternate energy, agriculture) and blue (marine) economies to drive growth. As the country is poised to go into a new decade of the 21st Century, a strategic mindset is critical for the sustainable growth of our country in all areas and the business, non-governmental and the public sectors must collaborate because a thriving socioeconomic future is everyone's business!
Over the last six (6) months an advocacy agenda has been developed to address the following but is not limited to: 1) the increasing cost of doing business with an eye on reducing freight charges, new fees and calculation to import duty that will keep the price of goods and services down and in turn mitigate increases in the cost of living; 2) reform to hotel aid and pioneer status legislation and incentives for emerging industries; 3) a strategic plan for economic diversification for existing industries; 4) the efficient delivery of public services in particular e-government; 5) the rebuild of a physical infrastructure that is more disaster resilient; 6) environmental protection and conservation and 7) improvements to destination access (by air and sea). The Advocacy committee has laid the groundwork by having courtesy calls with the Deputy Governor’s Office, Ministry of Finance, Immigration Department, and Central Statistics Office, with additional meetings being planned. We hope to partner with stakeholders on access to business financing and how insurance can be more affordable as the risk in the Caribbean region is increasing due to climate change.

To make Chamber’s operations more efficient, we have introduced technology that will enable us to serve you effectively through our new website, which has a member information centre (MIC). Through the MIC, members can log in and can keep their business directory information up to date, renew their membership, register for events/training, advertise their business, and other great features. Our Mission is to empower, educate and equip BVI businesses for their success and growth and with that focus we will be offering new business development seminars and workshops for start-up and existing business owners and entrepreneurs to build or enhance their technical and management capacity. Entrepreneurship is in our DNA as Virgin Islanders and we will be re-introducing the Junior Achievers program in 2020 to ensure that the next generation of business leaders are mentored to take their place in the future.

We are also getting ready to bring Crime Stoppers BVI back on-stream in collaboration with the Royal VI Police Force and will continue to offer the multi-employer pension plan and develop new initiatives that help businesses benefit from the collective strength of the Association. A management strategy is being implemented for the National Culinary Team to continue to be an exceptional destination brand ambassador, locally, regionally and internationally. We will be working on how we grow our membership in the sister islands because We Are All One Economy and continuing our partnership with the Royal BVI Yacht Club on the BVI Spring Regatta and expect another successful event in 2020. Planning is about to begin for the 2020 BVI Trade Expo and we are excited about celebrating the BVICCHA’s 50th Anniversary next year, even though it was delayed due to the 2017 storms. More information on the year-long celebration activities will be rolled out shortly.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to extend a special invitation to all business persons to attend the upcoming quarterly members meeting on 3 October 2019 at 5:30pm at the Forge office (Bld. #1) at the Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park. We will be providing further updates on what is in the pipeline and our guest speaker will be the Hon. Kye Rymer, Minister of Transportation, Works and Utilities, speaking on the proposed changes to the traffic flow. Register for the event on our website,

If you are a long-time or new member of the BVICCHA, on behalf of the Board of Directors, I extend a heartfelt thank you for continuing to believe there is strength in unity and you have been the source of our success over the years. To those prospective members, there is nothing else to say but Connect to the vision and help build a Virgin Islands that will be better than we met it. Fill out the application on the website or by coming into our office in the Tropic Isle building (across the street from Western Union) in Road Town. For more information, call the office at (284) 494-3514 or email


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