By Aaron Humes: The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry met in annual session on Thursday, electing a new executive council and reviewing the year that was.
Marcello Blake succeeds Marissa Longsworth as president of the Chamber, with William Usher as vice-president of industry and Katherine Meighan as vice-president of services; the third post, vice-president of commerce, is vacant. The executive is rounded out by Giacomo Sanchez, Treasurer; Ashanti Arthurs-Martin, Secretary; and councilors William Neal, Jody Williams, Allan Sharp, Noriko Gamero, and Marnix Perez. The election for new councilors was done digitally through an innovative platform developed by IdeaLab Studios Digital Marketing for the BCCI, which produced the results in real-time.
The Chamber has 348 members, a rise of 14 percent from 2020, including 12 business associations and four groups of companies, and recruited 70 new members during 2021. A majority of the membership is micro and small businesses, with larger businesses and industries only accounting for 14 percent of the membership.
The Chamber contributed lobbying efforts on issues ranging from public health to bilateral trade agreements to labour matters. It also conducted successful training in climate-resilient construction, private sector access to climate finance through the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and internal training with members conducted virtually, benefiting 876 participants. It also conducted virtual presentations of
The highlight of the evening was the keynote address by the guest speaker, the IDB Investment Management Principal Officer, Agri-Business and Food, Guillermo Foscarini. He spoke on the areas of Trade, Logistics, and Food Security.