Despite an extremely challenging year due to the negative effects of Covid-19 on many local businesses, the Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce (DAIC) remains committed to their key pillars of membership, partnership and advocacy.
This is the general message that was conveyed at the Association’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), held on August 20, 2020, under the theme ‘Boosting Dominica’s Private Sector through financial solutions and services.’
The new executive body elected to govern the association’s affair will be headed by Country Manager of First Caribbean International Bank (FCIB) Stephen Lander, who alluded to many hurdles which are anticipated in the upcoming year. However, he said his team is ready to face them head-on.
“We know the context of the environment that we are in, the challenges that we have been faced with, with the advent of Covid-19 and what impact that it has had on the economy. It is something that I look forward to, working with the board on in terms of how we navigate those waters and create an economic environment where the private sector can thrive. I don’t think that hope is lost; there is much that we can do,” Lander stated.
He went on to thank his predecessor Kenny Green for laying down a “strong foundation” on which he said he can continue to move the association forward to bring success for the chamber and its members in the upcoming year.
Meantime, former president, Kenny Green, in the DAIC 2020 annual report, highlighted the attempts that have been made in the last two years to widen DAIC membership as well as the scope of assistance that the DAIC gives to its members in order to mitigate against the traditional weakness of a limited financial base.
“The ability to financially sustain the DAIC is a key factor. Over the years, the DAIC has simply broken even as a non-profit organization, with no stipend and no extra financing outside of membership dues,” Green stated. “Going forward, we expect new partnerships and initiatives to drive new revenue paths to allow the Chamber to become more proactive and effective in driving services for members and the wider private sector.”
He described the organization’s engagement with the Organization of America State (OAS) on entrepreneurship with the proposition to create an Entrepreneurship Hub for Dominica and the Caribbean in tandem with the DAIC, as “an exciting possibility.”
Green also revealed that the association plans to build a relationship with the Government and expects more inclusion in policy decisions where the role of the Private Sector is to provide critical guidance and templates for the development of the island.
He said this inclusion allows the Private Sector to have an important say in many decisions as “we want to go even further and become a permanent fixture in trade missions and trade engagements in partnership with the Ministry of Trade.”
Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the DAIC agreed to coordinate a visit from the Barbados business community in order to build bilateral trade channels for product supply from Dominica to Barbados and also to allow for new distribution channels to be set up for Barbadian companies in Dominica. This initiative, like some others, had to be postponed.
However, Green said the DAIC sees this as the way forward, engaging service providers and members, and leveraging their products and services to regional and international partners.
“Given the number of engagements we have facilitated and actions that have come from those engagements, we are on the right track,” he declared.
The new DAIC Board of Directors elected for the 2020/2021 term includes Vice President – Brenton Hilaire, Treasurer – Joel Dennis, Assistant Treasurer – Evadney Esprit and Public Relations Officer (PRO), Sheldon Casimir.
Other board members are Kenny Green, Jeffery Baptise, Damien Sorhaindo, John Robin, Chris John and Deborah Edwards.