Report on Economic Forum “Partnering to Promote Growth and Development in Anguilla”

Wednesday, 17th July 2013 the Economic Forum organised by the Anguilla Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ltd, presented a brief report of the key points that were discussed at the meeting. Ms Ferguson, who was the Rapporteur for the roundtable discussions, concisely summarised the Forum’s outcomes. Recorded what various participants spoke about and reported on the day group’s presentations. The

Economic Forum included the following points.

Overall goal of the Economic Forum

The overall goal of the Economic Forum was to create an economic strategic plan for the next year that is workable.

Objectives of the Economic Forum

From the Forum’s roundtable discussions, the objectives that were outlined are:

 

  1. We need to see increased collaboration in all aspects with everyone involved from schools to businesses, government and citizens. In other words, it would be a public/private initiative.

 

  1. We need to come up with a good product, so everyone on Anguilla can grow and develop.

 

  1. We need to increase tourism through workable strategies, such as,
    1. Focussing on marketing/public relations in the countries from which the greatest number of visitors come. USA is the highest, Caribbean has the next largest and Europe comes in third place. Statistics show Anguilla receives a low percentage of the total number of visitors (20.5 million) who come to the Caribbean region.
    2. Improving in areas like Customs and Immigration, as well as sharing the satisfied/dissatisfied comments on Visitor Exit Surveys with the appropriate Government of Anguilla ministries and departments.
    3. Incorporating Anguilla 44 as a vision for economic prosperity, which would mean maintaining the high number of visitors, hotel occupancy  levels and full employment that we have during Christmas week for 44 weeks in each year, excluding the months of September and October.
    4. Training of people who work in all areas of tourism, island wide, so that they have competency and comprehension for the jobs that they perform.
    5. Developing a holistic immigration policy that does not have prohibitive visa requirements for Caribbean nationals and other nationals who have UK/USA visas or are from commonwealth countries, including Dutch Sint Maarten and French Saint Martin.
    6. Implementing effective marketing programmes that do not treat tourism as a spectator sport.
    7. Needing to address demographics of the economic situation.

 

  1. We need to do an assessment of the current tax system and impending taxation, which includes the following:
    1. Narrow tax base and heavily burdened taxes.
    2. Effective enforcement for payment of taxes and collection of delinquent (or back owed) taxes.
    3. c.       Value added tax (VAT)—we need to ask will it work for Anguilla or not?
    4. Focus on finding revenue that doesn’t further burden current taxpayers.

 

  1. We need to develop a light manufacturing industry to support the economy that would involve products manufactured for export.

 

  1. We need to diversify the local/national economy, so that we do not just focus solely on the tourism industry.

 

Overall challenge of the Economic Forum

It was believed that the overall challenge for the group is working together to develop a one-year workable economic strategy that will fit into the long-term national strategy plan for sustainability. The economic strategy should include comprehensive goals, overall objectives and areas of development.

Both Mr Keithley F.T. Lake, President of the Anguilla Chamber of Commerce and Ms Ferguson concluded in their closing remarks that we are challenged to find small measurable steps to take to achieve our goal of creating a workable plan to stimulate economic growth and development in Anguilla. Mr Carlton Pickering, Sr., Executive Director (Ag) of the Chamber was task by the President to lead the process forward, the Chamber would also follow up the Forum by developing working groups who will meet on a regular basis and they are tasked to design and implement action plans.

This event was attended by the Chief Minister, Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism & Sports, Technocrats of the Ministry of Finance, the public and private sectors who came together ‘partnering to promote growth and development in Anguilla.’ The Forum was held at Paradise Cove Resort West End Anguilla.

For further details on the Chamber’s business initiatives, activities and membership, please contact Mr Carlton Pickering Sr., Executive Director (Ag) or Mrs Lily Warning-Moses, Administrative Assistant by telephone on 264 497 2839. You may also send an email to acoci@caribcable.com, acocilily@caribcable.com or acociaxa@yahoo.com.

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This brief report on the Economic Forum was prepared for the Anguilla Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ltd by Ms Kay M. Ferguson, a freelance Creative Professional Writer who resides in North Side, Anguilla. To contact Kay, please email anguillawriter@gmail.com or call her on mobile number 264 476 8735 | landline 264 297 8735.

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