It is said that the Prime Minister’s decision to roll back the cess for streetlights came about as a result of pressure from the private sector – true. But make no mistake about it, that pressure started in the corridors of an office in Ocho Rios recently where Chamber head from across the island met to discuss their objection to the cess that was being proposed by the Government.
Full credit must go to the St. Ann Chamber of Commerce, and its president, Andrew Grant for what was nothing short of a well-timed and well orchestrated coup. It was not an easy task pulling it off, especially in getting all the Chambers to speak with one voice, quite a feat, if ever there was one.
You see, these Chambers have never always seen eye to eye. But one would never have guessed that based on the sort of unity displayed throughout the meeting. It was agreed that the Chambers and their members would take their protest to Parliament and the rest as we all know now is history.
What was significant about this meeting is that it came about when the fight to have cess rolled back was losing momentum. What the unprecedented show of unity by the Chambers did was to give renewed energy to the cause and placed the Government under severe pressure. What we are seeing now is a result of the St. Ann Chamber of Commerce’s initiative and I dare say the country on a whole owes that organization a great debt of gratitude.
And speaking of the St. Ann Chamber, outside of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, this has to be the mot vibrant Chamber in the country. With a group of hardworking directors whose contribution to charitable causes across the parish is well known, this organization is not only the pride and joy of St. Ann but is always a force to be reckoned with on a national level.
Picture caption: (L-R) George Watson, President, St. Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce; Donovan Cover, President, Manchester Chamber of Commerce; Joe Issa, Executive Vice President, SuperClubs; Wes Levy, President, Clarendon Chamber of Commerce and Mark Kerr-Jarrett, President, Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce at meting of Chambers in Ocho Rios recently.
Source: The Gleaner