At the Annual General Meeting of the St.Helena Chamber of Commerce in November
2008, plans were devised to be even more efficient in supporting the future
development of the Private Sector.
Today, boasting a membership base of over 55 private entities, the St. Helena
Chamber of Commerce represents over 90% of the island’s Private Sector.
The membership roll includes the largest companies and employers on the Island,
including Solomon’s, Cable & Wireless, Thorpe’s and the Bank
of St. Helena.
The Chamber regards itself as an organisation representing the common interest
of the Private Sector:
- Extending the communication platform for members,
focusing on the points important to members, enabling the Chamber Council
to direct and balance its policies.
- For many years, the Chamber has been one of the
Island’s main lobbying groups for the agreed and shared interests
of its members. It is the oldest and most influential political interest
group on the Island.
- The direct lobbying methods used by the Chamber in recent years have been:
- Inviting politicians and officials to meetings, workshops and seminars
- Writing letters to local government officials, including the Governor.
- Information updates in newspapers
- Scheduled meetings with Executive Council
- The Chamber has developed a close relationship
with DfID, and is frequently informed about what is being debated.
- The Chamber addresses common concerns relating
to import/export and sourcing of materials and services, strengthening links
with Walvis Bay and Cape Town.
- In order to offer help from “within”
in tackling persistent obstacles to inward investment, the Chamber joins
forces with less conservative forces at the St.Helena Development Agency
- On behalf of all businesses and the
general public, the Chamber of Commerce acts as a watchdog on questionable
practices by the ruling powers, e.g. taxation, discrimination, immigration
issues, and similar.