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Disaster – changes how we do business in St. Kitts & Nevis

St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber declares it will not be business as usual in St. Kitts & Nevis.

The passage of two category five hurricanes, let alone two in the same season is unprecedented. Each storm ravaged several islands in one sweep.  The reality that both storms passed several miles away from us, did not change the fact that the twin-islands sustained infrastructural damage.  The impact on homes, public buildings, businesses, farms and roads was significant.

Yet it is the direct impact of the storm on other nations that concerns us.

How St. Kitts & Nevis provides for its people

St. Kitts and Nevis receives a substantial amount of supplies through the Port of Miami.  This includes all of our imported food. Retail providers adequately stocked up pre-storm.  Hurricane Irma disrupted the supply chain by hitting the Port of Miami.  Dominica supplies fruits and vegetables; these will be absent from the stands along the Bay Road for months to come.

Building material experienced a hard run as part of hurricane preparedness activities.  Repairs were quickly addressed after Hurricane Irma.  This action further depleted stocks.  Providers were unable to replenish their stocks, before Hurricane Maria plummeted more islands.  Material that was delayed after the first storm, was now further delayed.

These hurricanes were personal to citizens of St. Kitts & Nevis

St. Kitts & Nevis did not sustain a direct hit, but the impact on particular islands made this personal.  Kittitians and Nevisians have close family ties in Anguilla, St. Maarten, the USVI, the BVI and Puerto Rico. The compelling urge to help others in need gripped the Federation placing pressure on existing stock.  Increased demand for water and dry goods brought into question the country’s ability to feed itself.

The main industry of St. Kitts & Nevis was also hit.  Cruise ships began cancelling their calls. Rough seas were the initial cause. The subsequent cancellations were purely a business decision.  With St. Maarten, Tortola and Puerto Rico out of the loop there were insufficient stops on an itinerary. The cruise industry has inserted St. Kitts & Nevis on other itineraries, but the number of inbound voyages, or the lack thereof, has begun to take its toll.

Several islands in the Caribbean serve as hubs to other islands.  Puerto Rico is the regional hub for express mail. St. Maarten served as a hub for cargo shipments. The mail-order business has grown exponentially in St. Kitts & Nevis. The devastation of islands serving as hubs, brought to a temporary halt access to private imports and the importation of temporary shelter supplies.

The list goes on and on…read other views here.

How do we build resilience?

The impact of regional devastation on insurance premiums cannot be overlooked.  Sir Ronald Saunders shared his views on how the Caribbean needs to insure itself against disasters.  Read

As St. Kitts & Nevis grapples with its own situation, lessons from the experience of others can be learnt.  Dominica’s challenges with communication should drive us to build a more robust technology structure.  Barbuda’s total annihilation, should prompt us to look at our building codes and our inventory of shelters.  We must take a deeper look at our own vulnerabilities and put the necessary steps in place at personal, business and national levels.

Inherent in any plan for improvement, is the need to establish a designated fund, enabling us to help ourselves.  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its in June 2017 report recommends the creation of a Growth and Resilience Fund. The intent is that such a fund will aid in the event of a catastrophic event.  The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, (ECCB), giving consideration to the same subject, covered the matter in a white paper on the matter entitled Sovereign Wealth Funds.

You can contribute to the discussion on disaster mitigation and recovery by submitting your views below.

 

 

SKNCIC Celebrates its members…Caribelle Batik

SKNCIC celeMaurice Widdowsonbrates its members…Caribelle Batik’s owner

Maurice Widdowson

SKNCIC embraces the induction of Maurice Widdowson of Caribelle Batik, ushering him into the family of honorary recipients of the country’s highest award – a Medal of Honour.

Easily one of the Chamber’s esteemed historians, Maurice has a rich background of life here in Sugar City where he has had a hand in the transformation of life through engagement with key developmental initiatives such as the Beautiful Basseterre Committee, the St. Christopher Heritage Society (National Trust) among others.

The transformation at Romney Manor speaks for itself.  Since his arrival in St. Kitts back in the early 70s, Maurice has embraced Kittitian life – its culture, its people and its heritage, carving out a business that showcased the positive attributes of life here in St. Kitts.

The St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry & Commerce salutes Mr. Maurice Widdowson, recipient of a 2017 Medal of Honour.

Business Continuity & Disaster Preparedness Workshop

Learn how to keep your business up and running after a disaster strikes

Sign up below for this sustainable business development session 

BUSINESS CONTINUITY AND DISASTER PREPAREDNESS WORKSHOP

JUNE 1, 2017

8:30 A.M. – 4:30 P.M.

CIC MEMBERS – $100.00

NON-MEMBERS – $150.00

 

St. Kitts-Nevis and the WTO TFA

St. Kitts-Nevis WTO TFA

St. Kitts-Nevis moves as the light turns green for implementation of the WTO TFA

What does this mean for the private sector? Signatories to the agreement believe that the major beneficiaries of this agreement is the private sector entities that fully embrace the WTO TFA.  Through improved  global trade mechanisms, new exporters will experience a smoother process that facilitates access to markets otherwise blocked by complicated trade procedures; trade exports worldwide are expected to grow by 20 per cent while associated costs are expected to be reduced by as much as 14 per cent.  WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo’s comments on the entry into force of the agreement here.

The benefits at both the private sector and country level require a commitment to public-private dialogue, (PPD). Governments create the policies that facilitate trade however, benefits can only be derived if the private sector is able to implement those policies and this is most effectively achieved when there is active engagement in the process through consultation and collaboration.

What does the green light mean for us? Upon entry into force of the Agreement on February 22, 2017, St. Kitts-Nevis became accountable for implementing all the procedures filed under Category A.  It also requires us to now submit information under Category B (provisions that will be implemented after a transition period) and Category C (provisions for which we require technical assistance).  

The Agreement means more than this for the private sector.  We have a golden opportunity to enhance our export development strategy by expanding it to include indigenous entities, positioning products in new markets.  The small size of our twin island Federation (St. Kitts and Nevis) does not determine our bench strength ergo our capacity to perform on a global level.  With active embassies around the world, it is time for us to deepen the conversation about the paving the stepping stones for our future in the global trade arena.

St. Kitts-Nevis National Consultation – 2016

12376788_449171378615787_7476551677134939657_nMr. Jose Rosa

President of the St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry & Commerce comments on what is required to Accelerate Growth and Build Resiliency in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Read the speech accelerating-growth-and-building-resilience-national-consulation-revised-by-jr

GEF-SGP St. Kitts & Nevis

Mr. Jose Rosa elected as President

A special congratulation is in order for our new president- Mr. Jose Rosa!

 

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UnknownOur 67th Annual General Meeting resulted in Mr. Jose Rosa being the newly elected President of the St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce. We are truly excited to have Mr. Rosa lead as we continue in our endeavors to forge new beginning and improve the standard and quality of life of all people of St. Kitts and Nevis.

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