PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) Board and representatives from the Chambre Consulaire Interprofessionnelle de Saint Martin (CCISM), recently met to discuss matters of mutual interests as well as how they can work together to the benefit of the business communities of Sint Maarten and Saint Martin.
Both Presidents of the Board of COCI and CCISM expressed how great it was for both Chambers of Commerce to meet. The meeting marks the true beginning of a partnership focused on inclusion for both sides of the island and embracing the differences that exist -but most importantly finding ways and working together to develop joint solutions allowing to break down any existing barriers.
The representatives from CCISM who attended the meeting were Angele Dormoy, President; Bhanicia Bryan, Interim General Director; Joy Carty, Project Manager; and Malaika Maxwell, Communications & Events Manager.
COCI was represented by Benjamin Ortega, President; Bertaux Fleming, Vice President; Louis Bute, Treasurer; and Anastacio Baker, Executive Director.
During this meeting, CCISM representatives proceeded to enlighten the COCI Board about the steps needed to open a business on the French side of the island.
The main issue their clients run into is that France mandates having specific certification that relates to select activities in construction. This in turn causes an inconvenience because persons from the Dutch side have difficulty getting the experience they have, and diplomas appraised for certain trades.
COCI representatives said that both Chambers agreed to collaborate with the upcoming Bush Tea Networking event where various companies from both sides of the island would be able to attend an informative session geared at facilitating the exchange of information about setting up a business. For the first time this event would be a joint initiative benefiting both sides and is slated to see the light during the last trimester of 2019.
COCI brought forward in the meeting that some people are under the impression that the Dutch side has an influx of French companies doing business on the Dutch side, but Dutch side businesses can also establish themselves on the French side after complying with criteria for establishing a business on that side of the island.
CCISM also informed that they are now moving into a new online system that makes the business registration process much more easier and business/investor friendly. When asked about their perception within the French business community with respect to the online process, CCISM stated that it is something they are working on improving as they are striving to become more visible within the business community.
CCISM added that now that when the system is fully online, it will give their staff the opportunity to engage in different interactive programs with the public. These will range from trainings, seminars and workshops for the business community to cross sector networking events.
Both Chambers agree that the main area they can work together is training. Taxi operators are one aspect that both parties believe can benefit from this joint training effort as it will streamline the information given to Tourists when they are on Tours.
At the conclusion of this meeting both organizations agreed that it would be very beneficial if they informed their respective business communities on the opportunities available and how to conduct business on the opposite sides of the island.
PHOTO: Representatives from CCISM and COCI.