Newly elected executive officers of the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce (GBCC) headed by returning President Greg Laroda, were officially installed on Friday, March 13, during a special reception in the Grand Lucayan Ballroom.
Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister Senator J. Kwasi Thompson, who served as the keynote speaker congratulated the team.
“It is indeed an honour and a privilege to celebrate with the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce today, as we recognize and congratulate the newly elected Board of Directors for 2020-2021,” he said.
He noted that the Chamber, over the years, has remained the vanguard of the business sector, fulfilling its mandate to continually stimulate and enhance the economy of Grand Bahama.
“I believe I can say without fear of contradiction, that the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce and Grand Bahama businesses epitomize what resilience is all about,” he said.
Sen. Thompson added that he looks forward to working with this new team of dedicated and committed businessmen and women, who are imminently qualified to take this organization to the next level.
“This administration remains committed to the empowerment and livelihood of small business owners and we look forward to continued collaboration with the Chamber in support these small businesses,” he said. “Again, congratulations and best wishes to the new Board of Directors as you continue to be that driving force for Grand Bahama businesses.”
In the spirit of the local business economy, Sen. Thompson also took the opportunity to commend industrial companies, other large companies and community staples that continue to operate despite recent challenges.
“I am so pleased to note that in Grand Bahama, many of our local staples have re-opened their doors,” he said.
He stated that the team at Dolly Madison, who has reopened, anticipates that the renovations will facilitate relocation to the original store area by early summer.
Kelly’s, which is certainly a community staple for Grand Bahamians, anticipates reaching full restoration by April of this year. As they commemorate 55 years of business in Grand Bahama, Kelly’s management reiterated their commitment to serving the community.
“Bahamian Brewery is expected to return to its full strength by mid to late May of this year,” he said.
He added that Sawyers officially reopened on December 2, 2019, and committed to a new million-dollar investment on Midshipmen Road.
“I, personally, commend all GB businesses and entrepreneurs for their commitment to the Grand Bahama community,” he said.
GBCC President Greg LaRoda in his remarks thanked all who participated in their general election.
LaRoda acknowledged that the past several months have been very challenging for Grand Bahama due to the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in early September 2019.
“We are still working to overcome those adversities,” he said.
He added that they want to expand the GBCC’s membership.
Laroda noted that they are moving forward and should be reminded that The Bahamas is a nation built on Christian values and that faith should see them through.
Deputy Prime Minister K. Peter Turnquest, Minister of Finance and Member of Parliament (MP) for East Grand Bahama was also in attendance and served as the Installation Officer.
The Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors 2020-2021 consists of officers, second and first year directors.
Officers are Gregory Laroda Sr., President (Government Relations Liaison Director, Buckeye Bahamas); Mick Holding, First Vice President (Independent Consultant); Lawrence Palmer, Second Vice President (President, Freeport Insurance Agents & Brokers); Ralph Hepburn, Treasurer (Financial Controller, Underwater Explorers Society) and Lesley Davis-Baptista, Secretary (Vice President/General Manager, Paint Fair).
Directors serving for the second year are Dennis Knowles, Second Year Director (President, Microtech Sales); Dave McGregor, Second Year Director (President & Chief Operating Officer, Grand Bahama Power Company); Antoine Brooks, Second Year Director (President, Island Traders) and Christine Van der Linde, Second Year Director (Customer Service Manager, Grand Bahama Development Company).
First Year Directors are Donna Christie-Ferguson, First Year Director, (Finance & Control Officer, Equinor South Riding Point); Carmel Parker-Dean, First Year Director (Financial Centre Manager, Fidelity Bank); Talia Wildgoose-Davis, First Year Director (Senior Marketing Manager, Aliv); Diane Morgan, First Year Director (Property Manager, Milo Butler & Sons Investment – Freeport); Daniel Lowe, First Year Director (General Manager, City Associated), and Hans Schuhbauer, First Year Director (Chief Operating Officer, Pharmachem Technologies (GB) Ltd.).
Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) Chief Superintendent of Police Loretta Mackey, and representatives from corporate community in Grand Bahama, including Aliv, the Grand Bahama Port Authority, and Buckeye Bahamas Hub were also in attendance.