Feb. 26 — Local business executive Mr Michael Morton, has been elected President of the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce. Mr Morton, who is Chairman of local conglomerate, Trading & Development Company Ltd. (TDC), was elected at the 61st Annual General Meeting of the Chamber held Wednesday at Ocean Terrace Inn. Also elected as officers were Mr David Lake (LIME St. Kitts-Nevis Ltd) as Vice President, and Mrs Judith Ng’Alla (S L Horsford & Company Ltd) as Treasurer. Two other Directors also joined the Chamber’s Board: Mr Ancel Sookhai (St. Kitts Bottling Company), and Mrs Corliss Charles-Sutton of RBTT Bank. Mrs Charles-Sutton will be completing the term of Mr. Dimitrios Adamopoulos (Bank of Nova Scotia) who will be leaving the Federation shortly for a new assignment in St. Lucia. Other members of the new Board are Ms. Betty-Ann Gilbert (Innovative Transport Services); Mr. Mahesh Nariani (Sun Island Clothes); Mr Damion Hobson (Hobson Enterprises); Mr Tapley Seaton Q.C. (Seaton & Foreman); Mr Mark Theron (Caribbean Canvas) and Mr Mark Wilkin (Carib Brewery). Mr Wilkin is also outgoing President of the Chamber, having just completed a maximum two-year term during the period 2008-2009. In accepting his election as President, Mr Morton said he was honoured to serve in this leadership capacity, although it was a decision taken after much deliberation, given the difficult economic climate confronting the private sector at this time. In his rather sombre acceptance remarks, the incoming Chamber President reminded the membership of the economic challenges that the business community is now confronting – a difficult period that demands unity of purpose if the Chamber is to remain strong. He said: “The Chamber is going to be as strong as we make it. Collective effort is needed, if the organisation is to achieve its objectives.” Mr Morton reminded Chamber members that the organisation can only meet their needs if the very membership supports it in word and deed. He added that Chamber membership should be viewed as a critical investment in business survival. He noted that: “The Chamber’s resources are not as strong as they should be to meet members’ needs. The Chamber is your insurance policy and so you must support the organisation financially.” The incoming Chamber President was quick to add that organisational success is not limited to financial support, however. Mr Morton also noted that success was also dependent on the Chamber membership’s support for its programmes and activities, including but not limited to, volunteering one’s time, talent and ideas to one of the Chamber’s working committees. Mr Morton cited several issues which, he said, would be priorities for the Chamber over the next 12 months: Our Federation’s readiness for major tax reform via Value Added Tax (VAT), which may be introduced By mid-year 2010; Strengthening the voice of Civil Society through the widened scope of the NGO Coalition that was recently institutionalised; The imperative that Civil Society, especially the private sector, be afforded a respected place in the consultative process on all matters affecting the business community, citizens and residents; Re-activation of the Chamber’s working committees; and Bolstering the Chamber’s membership base, particularly those sectors comprising its Nevis and Manufacturers’ Divisions. Mr Morton welcomed all of the new Directors and thanked those who would be leaving the Chamber’s Board. He paid special tribute to outgoing Immediate Past President, Mr Franklin Brand (Island Bakeries Ltd.); and outgoing Treasurer and Manufacturers’ Division Chairman, Mrs Marcella Monish (Lanns-Monish & Associates) and Mr Carol Evelyn (Harowe Servo Controls), respectively, whom he said had all served the organisation with distinction over the past several years. Mr Morton will be starting a second stint as Chamber President, having led the organisation in this role during the period 2000-2001. The Chamber’s Annual General Meeting was chaired By the Executive Director, Ms Wendy Phipps.
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