Fri | Feb 26, 2021

South St Catherine Chamber of Commerce takes on new life

Published:Wednesday | January 27, 2021 | 4:19 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston/Gleaner Writer
Board of Directors and members of the executive of the South St Catherine Chamber of Commerce.
Board of Directors and members of the executive of the South St Catherine Chamber of Commerce.

The Old Harbour Chamber of Commerce has taken on new life under its new name – South St Catherine Chamber of Commerce – which was launched last Wednesday at the Old Harbour Baptist Church in Marlie Acres

Speaking at the launch, president of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC), Lloyd Distant, commended the group for making the bold move in the midst of the pandemic, with all its associated economic and social consequences.

“You have nonetheless determined that you will move forward because in all your minds, the potential benefits that you see far outweigh the drawbacks. That is richly deserving of praise,” he told the gathering.

Sharing information from a panel discussion that he participated in earlier in the week, where the JCC Conference Board virtually released its indices of business consumer confidence – a reflection of 600 consumers and 100 firms – Distant said, “Perhaps the most important finding was that, here in the midst of a pandemic that has wreaked havoc on many businesses and consumers, resulting in job losses and overall reduced economic activity, more than half the businesses surveyed were of the view that this was a good time to invest,” he said, adding that, at first glance, it might sound somewhat counterintuitive.

INNOVATIVE BUSINESS PRACTICES

However, he shared that digging into the data, they realised that the firms were saying that having gone through the contractions, having had to make any number of adjustments, and having introduced a range of innovative business practices to keep their doors open, they are now seeing the prospects for re-energising their operations to emerge stronger.

Distant, in pointing out that St Catherine has the scope to become a key production locus of a renewed commitment to expanding the nation’s agro-industry, urged the chamber to embrace and encourage its members who are now in the sector or who are considering entering the sector, that they should remain open to new ways of doing business, as there are many things that will not revert to old practices.

President of the revamped chamber, Treacha Reid-McCalla, owner of Shades of Elegance, located on South Street, Old Harbour, said the South St Catherine Chamber of Commerce’s aim is to become the leading business group for entrepreneurs, irrespective of size or status.

“We envisage being that voice for all concerned, but we will do so with respect to all stakeholders involved in the process, {and} with dignity and humility. So, whether you are just a bar owner and operator on the corner, or a major conglomerate, we will ensure that your concerns are elevated appropriately and ventilated at the right forum.”

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