The Chamber has automated many of its processes to better serve the information needs of its members and clients. The Chamber also operates a documentation centre with a wide range of trade and business directories. Additionally, Chamber staff are able to provide support and assistance to Chamber Clients by conducting searches on request and on a fee basis on a wide range of subjects, from legislation, rules, standards, and market conditions and contacts locally and internationally.
The wide connections of the Chamber in the business and national community allows it to serve as a first step in seeking information on business, social, legislation, policy development and institutional arrangements in St. Lucia.
This website is a critical component and tool of the Chamber Business Information Centre and much information on the members of the Chamber can be found on this Website. In addition, by using the website to communicate with members and the wider community the Chamber is always reachable and only a click away.
On of the core services the Chamber provides to it's members, is programmes to increase productivity of the member work force as well as programs to enhance the capacity and skills of workers. Through an active and dynamic Productivity and Human Resource Development Standing Committee, the Chamber regularly holds workshops, seminars, Forums and other events. Such events either provide training to staff of member companies or bring together key persons in the Business Community and wider society to discuss issues in productivity and human resource management and development.
Members of this Productivity and Human Resource Development Committee were in the forefront of reviewing the Draft Labour Code in 2006 and have through that process become a valuable and knowledgeable resource for their firms and the wider business community.
The range of programs held are broad and have been very well received by members. Through a Training Needs Assessment, the Chamber Secretariat was able to identify key areas of training required by members which were validated and revised by the Standing Committee.
Programs held over the years include;
Dale Carnegie Course " Break through to Success"
Maximizing Personal Productivity Through Effective Time Management (Workshop)
Managing for Productivity (Workshop)
Stress Management Seminar
Human Resource Forum
Coperate Governance (Training workshop)
Measuring the Impact of Training (Workshop)
Supervisory Development/ Management Skills for the New Manager (Training workshop)
Idea Power: How to unleash creativity and innovation in your organisation (Workshop)
Performance Management: A Balanced Scorecard Approach (workshop)
Creating a High Performance Organisation: The Malcolm Baldridge Excellence Model (Seminar)
Midwestern State University Tuition Waiver Program
Dale Carnegie (Program)
Entry Level Skills (Program)
Dale Carnegie (Program)
A Journey to Greatness with Ken Blanchard (Program)
A key role played by the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture is that of representation of private sector interests at the National Level. As a one hundred plus old national institution, the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture is part of the national institutional framework and an important partner in the development of St. Lucia. Therefore the Chamber has representation on a broad cross section of National Bodies:
CHAMBER REPRESENTATION ON BOARDS
Mr. Gordon Charles
Mr. Peter Devaux
National Community Foundation
Mr. Egbert Louis
Construction & Engineering Technical Committee
Mrs. Charmaine Gardner
Standing Committee on Independence
Mrs. Thecla Deterville
National Development Corporation
Mr. Trevor Bristol
National Emergency Management Organization
Mr. Brian Louisy
Banana Industry Trust
Mr. Claudius Francis
Ministry of Education National Training Board Training Sub Committee
As any good Chamber of Commerce, Advocacy is a critical part of the work of the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture. By keeping a close eye on Government and its legislative and policy agenda, the Chamber is able to make an input in the content and substantive design and final output of these processes.
The Chamber adopts rational, informed positions that take account not only of the short term interests of members and the wider business community, but brings to bear a perspective that calls for efficient, well researched and thought out policy that achieves national goals and objectives with minimal negative impact on the business, society, environment and economy.
Strong advocacy that respects the views of others has been and remains the hall mark of the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture, for –
“Our voice is not often heard, our sword is not often drawn, but we labour hard and long, let no one doubt our resolve”
Over the years, the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture has found it necessary to take rather strong positions on many issues in addition to providing forums, writing articles in newspapers, appearing on radio and television to espouse its views on issues of importance to the business community.
The Chamber has found it useful to endorse, “A New Language of Discourse” in relating to government to truly support the needs of the business community. The Chamber has not utilized the press very often to articulate its views or concerns, but rather has engaged in constructive dialogue with the relevant Government Ministries and Agencies to get quick responses and action on issues of importance to the community.
Today, the role of the government in business is changing rapidly as is the role of the Business Community in Governance. In order for the Chamber to respond just as rapidly, this Priority Policy Document has been developed to lay a foundation for action. It is intended to provide a broad philosophy of action that will guide the Chamber Management Committee and the various Standing Committees toward proactive leadership in the Government policy arena.
A Philosophy of Action on Issues of National Importance
The St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture will take positions on key national, economic, social and political issues facing the business community. The Management Committee will endorse these positions. The Respective Standing Committees and Chamber Secretariat will be prudent in their decisions, taking into consideration as much of the membership opinion as possible before taking a public position. It is inevitable, however, that positions taken by the Chamber will not be universally endorsed by Chamber members. Additionally, we will encourage Chamber members to be active in the national development and political process. We will not however endorse political candidates or political parties.
Issues and Specific Policy Recommendations
National Development and Economic Growth
Well-planned balanced development and economic growth that help existing businesses and attracts new ones is essential to the economic health of a country. The Chamber strongly supports investments and policies that are responsible and will spur sustainable development and long term economic growth in St. Lucia. The Chamber is supportive of the St. Lucia National Export Development Strategy and is keen for its implementation to commence.
Environment and Quality of Life
A sound environment enhances the quality of life in a country and adds to the well being of business. The Chamber encourages and advocates for its members and the entire business community to strive to achieve a balance between business needs with sound environmental protection.
St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture recognizes’ that tourism is an important part of St. Lucia’s economic development. The Chamber supports responsible tourism initiatives that are consistent with National Economic and Social Development Objectives. Tourism must thus contribute to the quality of life of St. Lucians’, allow participation at all levels, i.e. investor, developer, owner and at all management levels, while linking to the wider economy to stimulate growth in other sectors and earn foreign exchange.
The Chamber must remain interested in the quality and state of utilities on the island because water, sewerage, electrical, telecommunications and other services serve as the infrastructure for a successful business community. The Chamber strongly supports cooperation between all utilities and the private sector, seeking to provide reasonable and quality service to the community. As far as energy supplies, the Chamber supports the use of alternative forms of energy and the promotion of energy conservation in both the public and private sectors.
Transportation is a key component of economic development and growth. The Chamber strongly advocates the regular maintenance and upkeep of existing roadways and building of new roads where needed. Improved air and Sea service is crucial to the holistic economic development of St.Lucia. The Chamber is a strong advocate for the development of an effective transportation system.
High quality schools produce high quality workers. The Chamber supports educational policy aimed at improving the quality of education standards and ensuring that it is relevant to the rapidly changing learning and knowledge based global economy. The Chamber will work with and collaborate with all agencies, public and private to provide quality educational opportunities to St. Lucians.
The Chamber strongly supports reasonable corporate and individual tax systems that engender a competitive business environment and stimulates investment. The Tax policy must aim for a broadened equitable tax base that does not create incentives for tax avoidance and evasion.
Employer: Employee Relations
The St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture support’s the introduction of a Labour Code in St. Lucia. The Code should be fair and balanced and protect the rights of employers and employees. The safety, health, employee benefits and other work-related concerns must be addressed and must take account of National realities and capacities.
The St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture believe that business and privately sponsored health plans should be supplemented by Universal Health Care to help address issues of access, and affordability. However the Chamber believes mechanism and independent checks and balances must be put in place to guard against abuse, fraud and cost escalation.
The St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture encourages growth of quality rewarding employment opportunities, which provide fair wages in St.Lucia and seeks to reduce unemployment.
The St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture support the farming industry in St. Lucia especially investment in agricultural diversification. The development of linkages between agriculture and tourism must be explored and farmers provided with the critical supporting measures to continue to engage in this sector that is crucial for balanced regional economic development, curbing rural urban drift and reducing unemployment and the food import bill.