NEW YEAR MESSAGE: Dominica Business Forum Inc.

McKenzie is the president of the Dominica Business Forum Inc. File photo

The Dominica Business Forum Inc. extends its best wishes to the people of the Commonwealth of Dominica and in particular the private sector , for a blessed Christmas season, a prosperous and a productive New Year.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in September 2017, the private sector in Dominica was challenged and, for many, it appeared that all hope was lost, but throughout 2018, our private sector enterprises demonstrated their resolve and resilience to rise from the ashes to the extent that, as we approach a new year, the private sector is more determined to take its rightful place as the engine of growth within the Dominican economy.

The heroic efforts of the utility companies with the restoration of electricity, water and telecommunication services to most of the population must be commended. The reopening and commencement of upgraded facilities such as the new look Whitchurch IGA, the new Do It Center, Fresh Market and many other private sector enterprises, is a clear indication of the private sector’s determination to broaden its base within the free enterprise system, in spite of the challenges of doing business in Dominica.

However, we must still lament the exit of Ross University School of Medicine, Dominica Brewery and Beverage Limited (Kubuli), the demise of Bello Products Ltd. and several other manufacturing and business enterprises which have been blown away with Maria’s winds. We also continue to lament a public procurement environment in which local enterprises and talent are not given the opportunity to contract with the government on delivery of the more lucrative works such as housing and dredging, and which, in general, does not follow the current legislative protocol and generally lacks transparency.

Growth of the local private sector in these areas has been clearly retarded due to lack of opportunity. Consequently, in an increased market post Hurricane Maria, some sector players have been struggling to make a contribution to the economy.

Notwithstanding these, without the contribution of the private sector in the recovery process in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, the situation in Dominica would have been much worse and therefore, the Dominica Business Forum Inc. extends its congratulations to all private sector enterprises and encourages them to continue on the path to economic prosperity. The success of the private sector depends on the private sector and 2019 will be an opportunity for Dominica’s private sector to regain its voice. The Dominica Business Forum Inc. intends to recognize deserving private sector enterprises in a memorable manner for their contribution to the post Hurricane Maria recovery process and national development.

With its limited resources, in 2018, the Dominica Business Forum Inc. was involved in numerous initiatives which included the hosting of a highly successful housing symposium to inform the public on best construction practices to resist the threats of natural hazards and the Dominica Business Forum Inc was also incorporated as a legal umbrella organization of the private sector under the Company’s Act of the Commonwealth of Dominica.

In recognition of the silence of the private sector on many issues related to the economic development of Dominica, on February 6th, 2019, the Dominica Business Forum Inc. will convene a National Economic Forum: Voices of the Private Sector, to discuss the role and status of the private sector within the Dominican economy. The National Economic Forum will focus on the key sectors of the economy such as agriculture, commercial enterprises, tourism, manufacturing, education, health and other critical issues such as Climate change, Cannabis legalization and the impact of the Citizenship by Investment Program. Details on the National Economic Forum will be made available in the next few weeks.

The private sector continues to be the main provider of employment in Dominica, hence the need for vibrant private sector organizations and the protection of private sector investments. The Dominica Business Forum Inc. represents the interests of the Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce (DAIC), Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA), Dominica Manufacturers Association (DMA), Dominica Employer’s Federation (DEF), Builders and Contractors Association of Dominica (BCAD) and the OECS Business Council and membership is open to all private sector and civil society organizations who are interested in developing a free and just society as dictated in the constitution of the Commonwealth.

As the Commonwealth of Dominica approaches another electoral cycle, the Dominica Business Forum Inc. intends to participate and promote educational discussions and events to enhance the level of consciousness of the population. The Dominica Business Forum Inc. is also concerned about the potential for political instability on the island and calls on all sides within the political spectrum to take the necessary measures through dialogue and consultation, to avoid any further deterioration of the investment climate in Dominica. History has proven that the Dominica private sector and citizenry are the most severely affected by both natural and man-made disasters.

As we celebrate another anniversary of the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and for those who
have alternative beliefs but celebrate the dawn of a new year, let us march forward with a common
sense of purpose and determination to achieve prosperity for the good of mankind and of our beloved
homeland.

God bless the Commonwealth of Dominica.

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3 Comments

  1. %
    January 1, 2019

    I was taught at my business classes,that the private sector is the engine of growth.Government must just provide the enabling environment for it to thrive. Even when I read the Christmas message of Jamaican outgoing chairman of Caricom,he alluded to that ..Sadly in Dominica the government is blind folded,obdurate,dunce and wicked.This is to the detriment of all of us.
    Happy New Year Mr McKenzie!
    Skerrit Must Go
    Skerrit Must Go
    LAZY Skerrit Must Go Now

    • January 2, 2019

      “I was taught at my business classes,that the private sector is the engine of growth.Government must just provide the enabling environment for it to thrive.”

      Agreed. There’s a great book on this by Robert Anderson, although the title and subtitle pretty much say it all: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1930865546

      • Joseph John
        January 5, 2019

        I agree also. You just have to look at the USA as a model. The Government is shut down, but wall street is rising, employment rate is rising. Just think of the impact if it was the other way around. Not only the US but the whole world would be in extreme depression. This would put the great depression of the 1930’s in the shade.
        If Dominica wants to step out of the cycle of permanent poverty, the private sector have to step up.
        Also our focus and attitude must shift from imports to import substitution and export.
        We should be producing poultry to export 10 or more containers per month. We enjoy “most favoured nation” status for paper products under the ECCM agreement, but the private sector do not know how to take advantage of this. The same goes for “Oils and Fats” within the CARICOM agreement but no caray re private sector activities. I can go on with several examples of failure to exploit government policies. All we have are voices and forums without action.

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