by: Jan Brown
1) Chamber Membership Update
2) New Atlantic Bank San Pedro Branch manager
3) Labor Law Amendments
4) Chamber Representative at the President's Meetings
5) Funding for Saca Chipas Project Approved
6) Cruises from Placentia
The Chamber meeting was held at the Blue Water Grill. Thanks so much Kelly McDermott for taking great care of the Chamber members and guests.
Board Members Attending:
Jan Brown,Marco Gonzalez Site
Dee Thomas, Retired
Steve Schult, Tropic Air
Vito Herrera , Atlantic Bank
Members and Guests Attending:
Kelly German, Exotic Caye Beach Resort
Lori Purdy, SAGA
Craig Metzgar, Cabinet Builder
Terry Colbert, Vista del Mar
Ann and Mike Brunette
Cindy Oliver, Tres Pescado Fly Fishing Shop
Forrest Jones, Retired/Esmeralda Neighborhood Watch
Rich and Susan Schmidt, Retired
Christopher McKoy, Fidos
Josie Nunez, ReMax
Vito Herrera , Atlantic Bank
Francisco Magana, Branch Manager Atlantic Bank
Harriette Fisher, Retired
Jonathan Mullen, Businesman
1) Jan Brown reported that the Chamber bank account for the start of the new year is $1652.05. A meeting of the Board of Directors was held on Jan. 11th and some ideas were discussed about how to revitalize the Chamber this year and there are some great suggestions out there how we should change and grow to meet all the new challenges facings San Pedro. Another Board meeting is scheduled on or about January 25th. The membership will be kept posted on developments.
It is time again to renew your membership to the Chamber. Please, send in this year's dues and be a part of it all! The following is a list of the cost of membership:
Business, 1 employee $100
Business, 2-4 employees $250
Business, 5-9 employees $500
Business, 10+ employees $1000
Renewed for 2011:
Jan Brown $100
Dee Thomas $100
Forrest Jones $100
2) Jan Brown opened the meeting by asking Vito Herrera of Atlantic Bank to introduce the new manager of the San Pedro Branch Office. Mr. Herrera introduced Mr. Francisco Magana who was recently transferred to San Pedro from Belize City and Caye Caulker. The members present introduced themselves and who they represented to Mr. Magana.
3) It was brought to the attention of the Chamber that there are new amendments to the labor laws before the house for review. The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry is very concerned that the changes proposed will be detrimental to both employers and employees especially concerning long term employment. It has been requested that the Chamber issue a letter to the Minister of Labor with a copy to Minister Heredia objecting to the amendments and requesting an extension of time for public review of the proposed amendments.
4) Harriette Fisher asked if the Chamber would still like her to represent them at the [Neighborhood Watch] President's Meetings with the mayor. It was stated that the Chamber would appreciate it if she would continue to attend the meetings for the Chamber. Ms Fisher brought up the issue of allowing taxis north of the bridge.
5) Jan Brown reported that Minister Heredia was on the Morning Show and spoke of two things of import to San Pedro. First, the airport has been renamed to honor Mr. Grief for his contribution to opening the island to the world. Start of the runway upgrade is scheduled for February and should be complete by May. These upgrades should last for years and be state of the art for Belize.
The 2nd topic was the IDB awarded $13M USD for 4 projects in Belize. San Pedro receiving $6M for the Saca Chipas project which includes the Boardwalk.
A street will finally be dedicated to run thru the center where the walking traffic is now.
The area lost from the road will be reclaimed on the water side, building out into the lagoon. This area will contain the new terminal for all water taxis and all GOB offices such as Customs, Immigrations, etc.
There will be a manifest for boats as is done on the airports.
When the public consultation was held, it seemed to fail and was blown way out of proportion. A petition to stop the project resulted. However, Minister said that all voices were heard and the plan was modified. The new concept is to have a pier to replace each existing personal pier. Instead of two major, it would include far more than is there now, but in a north area from where the building is to be put. There will also, for the first time, be an area to haul out and repair boats. All new piers will be uniform.
In case of hurricanes, there will be a pull out area in Saca Chipas which will have a planned gate and not have to tear out the fence.
The Boardwalk will be ½ it’s original planned length, still providing for small businesses/vendors for food and drink. An artificial beach is planned for people to rest or watch the sunset.
This Friday, Jan 14th, 1pm, SPTC will look at the final plan. Maintenance for this finished project will be through fees or paid through taxes. The $6M is a loan and must be repaid. If the project is not done, Minister considers it a downer for San Pedro. Then at 3pm, SPTC will present to stakeholders for another review. No location was given.
6) Forrest Jones reported that he was told there is a sailing cruise business starting up that will conduct cruises from Placencia north and thought that they should be petitioned to stop in San Pedro. He can be contacted for details of whom to talk to.
Our next Chamber meeting will be held on Thursday, January 27, 2011 at the Blue Water Grill.
Meeting was adjourned at 1:15 p.m.