Vieux Fort Business Community Meets Customs & SLASPA Head Honchos
July 20, 2023
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The St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce organized and hosted a powerful and rewarding “face to face” engagement between the Customs & Excise Department and the St. Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority and the Business Community of the southern town of Vieux Fort on Thursday, July 20,2023.

The engagement was in response to a call for dialogue with these agencies by that Business Community when they met with the Chamber, in May this year. The Chamber President, Trevor Louisy had pledged to arrange this dialogue to open an avenue of regular and structured communication between the Vieux Fort Business Community and key public sector agencies.

The St. Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) and the Customs & Excise Department were represented at the highest levels by their General Manager, Daren Cenac and by Mr. Sherman Emmanuel, Acting Comptroller of Customs. Other Senior Officers from the two organizations included, from SLASPA; Directors of Sea Ports, Adrian Helaire, Director of Airports, Amy Charles and Mr.Gasper George Senior Manager Business Development and Corporate Communication. Senior. From the Customs & Excise Department Mr. Roddy Alcindor AssistantComptroller of Customs and Mr. Wilson Holder Officer responsible for the SouthernDivision and Mr. Byron Ince Customs Supervisor.

The Comptroller of Customs explained some of the challenges faced by the Department in implementing various initiatives including lack of financial and human resources, to allow more effective deployment of staff and use of modern technology to speed up customer service delivery. Many attendees  singled out Mr. Holder for his commitment to helping and facilitate services to businessin the south, despite the constraints faced. Attendees did suggest, inter alia,that a smoother transition was required when staff deployments took place and suggestedstandard operating procedures would help. Additionally, a more effective andeasier dissemination of information on Customs rules, and new procedures wouldbe facilitated through an effective website a point raised by the Comptrollerof Customs himself.

The St. Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority took the opportunityto update the Business Community on some of its many iniatives. These included,the soon to be introduced Maritime Single Window, Customer Experience Program,and a Customer Complaints System. The SLASPA Team also gave updates on theHewanorra International Airport development, reporting that the foundation forthe Airport Tower was complete and the Tower is slated for completion by June2024. Update on improvement to navigation systems and lighting was alsoprovided along with progress on the runway rehabilitation program.

The Meeting highlighted the need for more regular dialogue likethis one so that the Business Community and the trade support agencies like Customsand SLASPA could communicate on matters of mutual interest.

The St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculturehas agreed to ensure that the dialogue continues and follow up action on themany recommendations made at the meeting are followed up on. The Vieux FortBusiness Community can look forward to the Chamber deepening its work andextending its service offering in the short to medium term.

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Frequently asked questions
Where is the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce located?
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The St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture is located at Orange Park Commercial Building, 1st Floor, Bois D’Orange, Gros Islet.

Is the chamber of commerce part of the government?
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While most chambers work closely with government, they are not part of government  

What are the benefits of being in the chamber of commerce?
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Advocating on behalf of members with the public sector. Increased visibility and credibility. Business training and education information sharing and networking.

What is the main purpose of the chamber of commerce?
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A chamber of commerce is an organization of business owners and entrepreneurs who promote the interests of their local business community. Chambers of commerce provide access to valuable resources, discounts, and relationships that help businesses save money and market their products.

What powers does the chamber of commerce have?
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Chambers of Commerce will act to promote public policies that are in the best interest of business, in general. Specific Chambers of Commerce may also attempt to promote policies that serve specific industries or geographic locations.