Interim President of the Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce (DAIC), Jeffery Baptiste, is of the opinion that the Association must do more to position itself to be taken seriously.
Baptiste, who was addressing the first of a series of town hall meetings at the Fort Young Hotel on Thursday night, stated that the DAIC will be heard it is more structured and cohesive.
“I am also of the view that the public sector or government will only take you seriously if they see you as being a very strong and cohesive and structured organization,” Baptiste said. “As it is I am not certain that the public sector is actually viewing the Chamber of Commerce or the DAIC in that manner.”
He said the DAIC must do more and “present ourselves as a more structured.”
“And if you will, maybe a more serious organization as we set out to create a more investment friendly climate and to help those of us who invest in this market to extract a lot more value from our investments,” he stated.
The interim President remarked that the Association wants to influence the investment and the economic climate on the island but “as I said, we can only force that dialogue if we position ourselves in the manner that would force other stakeholders to take us up a lot more seriously than they have taken us now.”
There are about 37 paid members in the DAIC to date and he argued that this is certainly not the position the organization wants to be in the economy and the size of Dominica’s population.
“I am quite sure we can do a lot better than that,” he stated.
Meantime, Baptiste informed that the board has recognized that the DAIC needs to bridge the gap with its wider membership since the association is unable to add value without input and direction from them.
“Certainly as a board we recognize that it cannot be business as usual,” he said. “A chamber of commerce that has very limited participation from the membership, a chamber of commerce that is pretty much fragmented in its views that are not always guided in terms of the key development issues in our society and not always responsive to the burning issues that confront the private sector in my mind really isn’t adding value to the membership.”
He added that the DAIC need to be clear on the issues that are confronting members, on the issues that require advocacy at the level of the Association and this can only be achieved on a face to face and a structured dialogue with the membership.