Under the theme ‘Communication, collaboration and co-ordination’ the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce (GBCC) held its annual installation of officers and directors on Saturday evening at the Manor House, Grand Lucayan Resort.
Prior to the new president, Mick Holding, officially taking office, he spoke exclusively with this daily about his goals for the 2016/2017 Chamber year.
He noted that communication with members will be at the forefront of his presidency.
Unofficially elected to the new term in office on November 30, 2016, Holding said it is the Chamber’s intention to play a proactive role in reaching and directly communicating with all business entities on the island and by extension, assist in addressing the needs of the communities as well.
“I think that we face a lot of challenges in 2017; we haven’t yet recovered from Hurricane Matthew and even in the last few days, we hear of new challenges – for example the fact the Memories Resort is not going to reopen and the subsequent loss of jobs.
“This year is going to bring its challenges but, we, the Chamber, intend to play our part in trying to revive the economy of the island and get us back to where we all want it to be,” Holding pledged.
“We need to work closely and we will work closely with the Ministry for Grand Bahama, the Grand Bahama Port Authority and all of the other stakeholders, to make it better for everyone … that is our goal.”
Questioned on how he and his board intended to move forward, Holding said, “One of my initial thoughts when I became president, having been on the Board for three years previously it came home to me, particularly in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew that we do not have direct contact with all of our members. On an annual basis, we will probably have contact with about 20 percent of them.
“One of my first goals is to get out in the community, among our members and talk to them, letting them know that we are here from them, listening to their issues and problems and identify how we can help them.
“Since Christmas we have been putting together a program and starting next week, every single member of the GBCC will be visited, by one or more directors. Not by email, not by any social media, but instead face to face, touching, and saying we are here for you. That is only a start, but I believe that it is so important,” the new president disclosed.
He noted that the economy is not just about big business, “big business is important, of course it is, but the economy is also dependent on the small business person as well.
“We need to reach out to them and represent them as much as anyone else. The only way that we can represent them is to get out there and talk to them, speak to them and listen to them and from that, try to build a portfolio of actions that can help everyone in the community that is our goal,” said Holding.
Having served, as president of the GB Chamber of Commerce for a mere two months, Holding along with his predecessor, Kevin Seymour, has also been influential in community-oriented efforts.
Noting that at the Chamber it is not only important for them to focus on the economic stability of the island, they both agree that equally important is the establishment and continuation community ties with all residents and businesses on the island.
Most recently, February 3, the GBCC made a sizeable donation of food items to The Bahama Red Cross, Grand Bahama Center to aid Hurricane Matthew victims and others in need throughout the island.
Questioned if the donations and other efforts will be something the community of Grand Bahama can look forward to during his presidency he answered, “You can, but to be fair I cannot claim the direct credit for the work with the Red Cross. That was under the presidency of my predecessor, Kevin Seymour; he instigated that.
“While we are primarily here as the Chamber of Commerce to represent businesses on Grand Bahama, we cannot forget the community either and we certainly won’t forget the community.
“Hopefully, by improving business, then the whole community will benefit as well, that is going to be out goal.”
Published Thursday, February 9, 2017