New MoBay chamber boss supports state of emergency
Banker Winston Lawson, the newly elected president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has said that the ongoing state of public emergency in St James is necessary as now is "the time to sacrifice for the greater good".
Lawson's comments come against the background of some members of the business community regularly complaining about taking a financial beating.
"I can clearly say that we will not embrace the removal of the state of emergency without an adequate alternative that will ensure that our citizens can live freely, that our people can do commerce and trade freely without fear," Lawson said as he gave his inaugural remarks following his election.
Lawson, the National Commercial Bank's assistant general manager for the corporate banking division, western region, was elected on Wednesday night at the chamber's annual general meeting, held at the Wexford Hotel in Montego Bay.
Lawson secured 58 of the 135 votes to blunt the challenge of businessman Norman Reid, who received 54 votes; and entrepreneur Brian Brown, who got 23 votes. Lawson replaces T'Shura Gibbs, who did not seek re-election
"Let me start by saying how very humble and grateful I am for your vote of confidence here tonight," said Lawson. "I have a 10-point plan that is really grounded on three pillars: centricity, modernisation, and advocacy. I will not let you down."
In explaining the three pillars of his 10-point plan, Lawson said that "centricity is needed to ensure my members are comfortable, pay dues, and are satisfied that they are benefitting directly and indirectly".
"Modernisation," Lawson said, "speaks to being a bit more modern as a chamber, [doing things] such as upgrading our little website and modernising how we, as a board, operate and being able to give more value as well as producing more for our members."
"Advocacy speaks for itself," Lawson added.
He pointed to several issues to be addressed in Montego Bay including port expansion, the Cornwall Regional Hospital, indiscipline on the road, traffic congestion, and the need for a by-pass road.
Lawson's executive will comprise journalist Janet Silvera (first vice-president); business process outsourcing personality Yoni Epstein (second vice-president); and Digicel official Joy Clark (third vice-president). They will be complemented by Oral Heapen, Conrad Robinson, Nadine Spence, Brian Brown, Karlene Maye, and Nina Peters as new members of the board of directors.