Three young professionals aim to inject more vigour in Chamber of Commerce Board elections on Dec. 3


Young professionals/business owners Abdul Meyers, Tamara Leonard and Ajay Rawtani, candidates for the board members of the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have a common goal – to add their talents and input to increase the organisation’s activeness and strengthen its position as a major stakeholder.


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Meyers is a candidate for the board member representing large businesses. Leonard and Rawtani are on the ballot for small businesses. Two board member positions for small businesses are open. This means that voters (business owners registered with the Chamber) can vote for two candidates for small business representation on the same ballot.

Meyer, Leonard and Rawtani see the need for business owners like themselves to step up to the plate to share their knowledge and expertise to improve the image of businesses and mitigate impacts of law or policy changes. Their goal, when elected, is to work with the existing board member to strengthen the Chamber’s activism and presence in to community while improving services to members.

Rawtani, managing director of Office 1 Superstore, with his background in information technology, sees a future for the Chamber where the use of new technology is ever present. "We need an automated registration system. Businesses need to be able to access their chamber info on line instead of having to get to the office to conduct business – a time consuming task with the traffic and parking issues."

Rawtani’s father, Damu Rawtani, had served two plus terms on the Chamber board in the past decade.

Meyers, managing director of Connecting Waves N.V. which operates water taxis from the harbour to town and the Meyers group of companies, said his bid for the Chamber board member is to give businesses, the larger ones in particular, more voice and input on the way forward as the chamber and as an essential building block of country St. Maarten.

Leonard, managing director of St. Maarten SuperHost’s parent company Dartam N.V. and waste management company Leonard Enterprises, said there is need for better training for staff and management to ensure better service and value for customers. The pending law on Consumer Protection, one of the many changes to the Civil Code, needs the full attention of businesses with the Chamber as the guiding force.

The three St. Maarteners are eager to add their voice on behalf of all businesses to that of the existing board of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. They view this as a way to get the business sector reenergised to tackle tough areas of concerns like the constant power outages from GEBE, an occurrence linked to loss of business and declining consumer confidence at a time when the economy is still struggling to recover for the tailspin of the global crisis.

They urge business owners who are not sure whether they are registered to vote on Friday, December 2, to visit the Chamber’s office on Cannegieter Street to regulate their information. A list of voters was published in the newspaper in early October.