I feel we need to have new people in Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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Business man Gromyko Wilson

 

I been part of COCI over 10 years and as a small business I cannot say that opportunities were offered to me or others in any type of investments.

If the Government was not forcing you by law to be a member, I think a lot of those people who don’t care to vote would have abandoned the organization, because is clear to me that it is only for the rich boys and girls on the island, who enter to secure others and themselves.

The banks are giving a hell of a time to open a simple bank account by asking you for all types of documents, and don’t talk about a loan. What did the COCI do or negotiate for the small business? The banks are outsourcing most departments with overseas branches, and in the meantime our local citizens are fired.

A continued blackout from electricity to internet, affecting every single business on this island, and no type of public vocal concern has been shown.

Today is Chamber Election, and as every time the election comes, somebody notices that they can get my vote to be elected in the Chamber, and then I can forget about them all to raise my concern.

The COCI does not have a newsletter that they send out to the members. I spoke with different elected board members during the 10 years and everybody tells you with high hopes that yes, it will be done.

About 15 years ago the Commissioner of Economic Affair launched the Small Business Development Foundation with the idea to support and help small businesses in obtaining what they call soft loans via EU funds that are available.

Nobody ever got. Up to today COCI and the same foundation are giving everybody business plan courses, yes, but the reality is when you go to the commercial banks, who are also members of COCI, they drop or sink your business plans. If you who have a small business don’t have that 2,000 to 3,000 dollars to pay a lawyer, or a well-known firm, to make your business plans and adjust some numbers, you will never make it to get a HARD loan to invest into your company!

It’s nice to see in the newspapers all those accomplishments from two candidates, but in reality none of those things will survive in the real life of business. When you have the Tax Department following you, no kind of structured opportunity has been put in place; No kind of adjustment that COCI can propose to Parliament will benefit the NVs, BVs, and eenmanszaak companies.

COCI, via connections, got a piece of land from Government, but how many businesses are waiting also to get a piece of land? How many businesses are waiting on a tax haven for at least 2 years with an extension to 3 years, on income profit tax? Maybe a GEBE connection fee at 50% for the first time registration at GEBE. There are a lot of things COCI can work on and propose to Government.

What COCI needs to do is stay away from political ties and statements. Today, I will have to think hard if I will go out and vote AGAIN.

I am not satisfied with COCI’s day to day operation, and I am not seeing any change coming by voting. The ones who run COCI are not ready to start a quarterly newsletter, to start a system where they promote members to work with other members, where business is concerned, instead of taking someone who’s not registered at the Chamber to do work for them.

It’s very hard to say, yes, I will go and cast my vote for a change.

I hope one day the mentality of the people who chose to get into COCI’s board remember that communication with your members is very important, instead of just sending them an outstanding bill.

I repeat again, it is because Government is forcing all businesses, by law, to register at COCI. You are growing, because if it was a one-time thing, you would see how many business people would abandon COCI!

Gromyko Wilson

Small Business Owner