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Don’t blame Ministers; get Chamber of Commerce – JVD businessman

Businessman Kent Bernier called for the implementation of a chamber of commerce to assist residents of Jost Van Dyke with some of the issues that affected them. Photo: VINO
BVI Tourist Board Director, Mrs Sharon Flax-Mars, admitted that there have been ‘perception challenges’ in the past with the Board and working effectively but asked that she be taken at her own merit while suggesting that things be looked at in totality before ‘jumping and making decisions’. Photo: VINO
BVI Tourist Board Director, Mrs Sharon Flax-Mars, admitted that there have been ‘perception challenges’ in the past with the Board and working effectively but asked that she be taken at her own merit while suggesting that things be looked at in totality before ‘jumping and making decisions’. Photo: VINO
GREAT HARBOUR, Jost Van Dyke, VI – Businessman, Kent Bernier, has recommended that residents of the island of Jost Van Dyke (JVD) establish a Chamber of Commerce as a means to solving some of the many problems they face.

During a stakeholders meeting held on JVD on March 22, 2013 at Foxy’s Tamarind Bar with business owners and other residents, it was suggested that a chamber of commerce would empower residents to make decisions that would have a greater impact on their well being.

Director of the BVI Tourist Board, Sharon Flax-Mars, expressed during the meeting that the Board would be meeting with residents on a quarterly basis to hear their concerns.

Bernier said he made a recommendation to the government while he was in the BVI Ports Authority that $3.00 per person should be charged for entry into the island to assist with “infrastructure and beautification”.

The owner of Guavaberry Farm on JVD, added that the island was outside of everything that was happening on Tortola and should take up the initiative that would place matters firmly in their own hands. The resident further advised that Ministers should not be blamed for the problems being experienced by residents of JVD.

“You create a chamber of commerce [and] you will be your own power broker,” Bernier offered “at $3.00 a head at two hundred thousand people… then we can get the bathrooms, then we can improve…”

While making reference to the planned visits by the Tourist Board Director, he suggested that residents be guided ‘collectively’ until they can achieve the maturity to form their own chamber of commerce. “In order for this institution here in Jost Van Dyke to work,” Bernier said, “[there] has to be a chamber of commerce and [we] have to create [our] own institution with everybody working together.”

He also stressed the need for a public/private partnership between residents and the Tourist Board for at least a year to achieve the desired goal.

Director reassures sceptics of her effectiveness

Mrs Flax-Mars said the comments and concerns that came from the meeting were valid and felt it was always important to hear what people are thinking and to get their perspective, especially since she was new to the board.

“Our role as well is to help the business persons,” Mrs Flax-Mars said, “especially the small indigenous businesses who tend to have unique challenges.”

In response to any scepticism that may have been apparent regarding her effectiveness as head of the Tourist Board in dealing with concerns of the residents of the island, she said, “I know that change is always different and change can be a bit disconcerting for individuals…”

Mrs Flax-Mars also admitted that there have been ‘perception challenges’ in the past with the Board and working effectively but asked that she be taken at her own merit while suggesting that things be looked at in totality before ‘jumping and making decisions’.

“I like to be able to go to the people, get their feedback, go back to my people and then chart a way forward,” she stated, “so I understand a little bit, the scepticism but I was heartened… in that they seemed willing to give us an opportunity and to give us time to help to facilitate some changes.”

Regarding concerns that she had stated may not be under the Board’s purview she said, “For me, in my career… coming from the private sector as well too, I’ve been a pretty effective leader in the way of galvanizing individuals and putting people together. Sometimes all it takes is putting the right players in the right room at the right time and putting the decision makers in the same room so that you can come out of that meeting with a call to action, rather than continually discussing something over and over.”

12 Responses to “Don’t blame Ministers; get Chamber of Commerce – JVD businessman”

  • AC 360 (25/03/2013, 07:58) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Look at another fraudster
  • Opinion (25/03/2013, 09:10) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Well if that is the case, that we should not blame ministers, then maybe there should not be any ministers. They are elected by the people to ensure an unbiased, fair engagement with the people of the country, to get things done and move the country forward. Your statement emplies that you agree with them in office sitting down doing nothing and getting paid. You suggested getting a Chamber of Commerce OK FINE but maybe the fees that the politician is getting could be distributed to that organization (COC) to get things done. Money is needed to get things done..... not mouth.
  • ... (25/03/2013, 09:16) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Like jvd planning a coup?
    • tell teh truth (25/03/2013, 11:22) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Well if this is the type of leadership that they're offering, I don't want it
  • ausar (25/03/2013, 09:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Great idea, Kent!

    The time has come for Jost Van Dyke to charge for point of entry!!

    Great, great idea!!
  • cnbc (25/03/2013, 11:49) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Kent, the people of BVI and St. Thomas have lost out.
  • Manabouttown (25/03/2013, 21:40) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Citizens: Rights and Responsibilities
    Democracies rest upon the principle that government exists to serve the people; the people do not exist to serve the government. In other words, the people are citizens of the democratic state, not its subjects. While the British Virgin Islands protects the rights of its citizens, in return, the citizens give the BVI their loyalty. Under an authoritarian system, on the other hand, the BVI, as an entity separate from the society, demands loyalty and service from its people without any reciprocal obligation to secure their consent for its actions.
    When citizens in a democracy vote, for example, they are exercising their right and responsibility to determine who shall rule in their name. In an authoritarian BVI, by contrast, the act of voting serves only to legitimize selections already made by the regime. Voting in such a society involves neither rights nor responsibilities exercised by citizens--only a coerced show of public support for the government.
    Similarly, citizens in a democracy enjoy the right to join organizations of their choosing that are independent of government and to participate freely in the public life of their society. At the same time, citizens must accept the responsibility that such participation entails: educating themselves about the issues, demonstrating tolerance in dealing with those holding opposing views, and compromising when necessary to reach agreement.
    I therefore differ in respect of that statement; it is the responsibility of the Democratic elected Minister to make proper representation on behalf of the people. Let the Hon. Minister’s do their job that they were elected to do, and then consideration will be given to the Chambers of Commerce.



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