The vibrant Joe Issa has ended two years of service as president of the St Ann Chamber of Commerce but says this is by no means an end to his service to the Chamber and that major programmes to improve the business environment and stimulate enterprise in the parish are still lacking. In an interview with the North Coast Times, Mr. Issa revealed that the greatest challenge he faced as president was to construct and maintain better lines of communication between the various business interests in the parish. He named the craft vendors and hotels as an example. The Chamber tried to assist with some success with the Craft Vendors and Hotel Initiative which saw hotels organising tours for specific time periods to the different craft markets. Mr. Issa described this as inadequate because what was needed was a proper, attractive craft market, with adequate facilities and a range of products that would attract visitors.
According to Mr. Issa, the chamber had made representation to the government for the construction of a new craft market which the Chamber hoped would be the “Ritz Carlton” of craft markets or a very high quality craft market which would be centrally located. To date there had been no developments concerning the matter, Mr. Issa said.
The Chamber also spear headed an initiative, the brain child of Joey Issa, to revamp the drug stricken area of James Avenue where the notorious Ninja Man was recently apprehended, to a bright, fun ambience. The initiative has been successful thus far and people from all walks of life can be seen in the areas these days, playing games or just relaxing in the area where several business owners have improved the look of the previously run down properties. On a Thursday night, the area takes on a life of its own, with parties, in a fun atmosphere.
Mr. Issa was also the brain behind the initiative to encourage promoters to bring major festivals and concerts to the town of Ocho Rios and this has seen some amount of success. For one the world famous Reggae Sunsplash was hosted in the town last year, however for this year the organizers of the annual show were unable to put it on. The Air Jamaica Jazz Festival was also held in Ocho Rios for the first time last year. Mr. Issa told the Times that two shows have been planned for December of this year and these hold the promise to be bigger than Sunsplash. One show is dubbed Tribute to Bob Marley, sponsored by TNT and includes several top names in the music fraternity. There were a host of other moves in representing the business sector and the needs of the parish generally over his two-year presidency but he stepped down to allow opportunities for others and new minds to bring new ideas to issues in which the Chamber had an interest.
Mr. Issa plans to continue actively supporting the Chamber while carrying on his full time job as executive vice president of the SuperClubs resort chain.
Source: North Coast Times