Chamber President: “FIXING LITTLE THINGS CAN HELP GROW THE ECONOMY”

anguillian
By anguillian June 27, 2016 11:29 Updated

 

 

 

 

The suggestion has been made that if the little things in Anguilla were properly addressed, this would go a long way towards assisting the growth of the island’s economy. It was a suggestion from Mr. Keithley Lake while delivering his report at the recent Annual General Meeting of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in his capacity as President of the private sector organisation.

Speaking at Viceroy Anguilla, where the 12th Annual General Meeting was held on Thursday, June 16, Mr. Lake stated that his report was focused “on the need for a robust Chamber of Commerce and the importance of getting the little things right and their importance to the economy.”

He outlined some of the matters which should be addressed as follows:
• “Our laws and lax enforcement often fail to protect businesses and thereby negatively impact our economic growth. Some of our members have invested millions in acquiring distributorships while a blind eye is turned to the importation of goods in contravention of such agreements. That does not happen in other Caribbean islands.

• Expired goods crowd the supermarket shelves of our establishments while our health officials sit idly by. Expiration dates are wilfully obliterated and those goods pushed on our local people.
• Our island remains dirty. Uncovered trucks continue to traverse the roadways littering at will. Meaningful enforcement to prevent littering doesn’t seem to be a priority.

• Many government offices remain closed at lunchtime. Now please tell me how difficult it is to schedule workers so that certain offices can remain open at lunchtime?”
Mr. Lake continued: “The Chamber has been advocating for such changes for years to no avail. Simple things like these will do wonders for revenue collection not to mention economic activity. We, as a society, always seem to be waiting for the next big thing to be the deliverer/saviour of our economy! An airport will take several years to be a reality; a new hotel – same story. Besides, every other jurisdiction is also looking for the next big thing. We need to address all the little things which, in total, will be equal to the next big thing. The good news is that they are doable. I guarantee you accountability will go a long way in fixing these issues.”

Another matter he spoke about – and said there was a need to address – was that there were approximately 200 taxing mechanisms in Anguilla. “Even more puzzling is the high non-compliance rate,” he went on. “Nonetheless, every budget cycle, new and additional taxing vehicles are passed without this chronic non-compliance being addressed. This places additional burdens to an already depressed economy resulting in those who pay having to pay more and those who don’t, just keep ignoring their obligations. It seems elementary that the system needs to be revamped. In so doing, the objective should be simplification (and perhaps reducing the number of taxing mechanisms to say 10) and ensuring that there is full compliance. Here, again, a properly resourced Chamber can bring clarity to this issue.”

Mr. Lake placed a considerable amount of emphasis on a well-functioning Chamber and the benefits to be derived from economic growth. “A revitalised Chamber can be the centre of business activity for its members,” he added. “A one stop shop to get needed assistance in training, business plan development, counselling on new ventures and, in general, getting access to much-needed information, will do much in the furtherance of economic activity. The laser light approach is needed to spur growth.”

The General Meeting of the Anguilla Chamber of Commerce was attended by business representatives from throughout the island as well as delegates from French St. Martin and Dutch St. Maarten.

The guest speaker was the President of the St. Martin Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Jean T. Arnell.

anguillian
By anguillian June 27, 2016 11:29 Updated
  • Tom morgan

    Some excellent thinking from Mr. Lake. – Tom Morgan, friend of Anguilla.

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