Chamber of Commerce elects new board


During its General Membership meeting Wednesday, the Chamber of Commerce elected its seven member executive board, which will meeting soon to select the chairman, co-chairman, secretary and treasurer.
The new board are Jason Betham, Brett Butler, Lewis Wolman, Isabel Hudson, Laufai Fanene, Peter Crispin and Tom Drabble.
Prior to the election process, out-going board chairman David Robinson shared some business highlights of 2013, saying that as predicted by the Chamber in late 2012, this year proved to be a challenging one for many small and medium size businesses, according to a copy of his remarks provided to Samoa News on the occasion.
Apart from Tri Marine International, StarKist Samoa, the ASG owned shipyard and certain parts of the construction sector, not much has been seen in the way of new job creation and there has not been very much in the way of new investment, said Robinson, adding that there needs to be new investment for the territory.
He did point out that a “bright spot” in recent times has seen a reduction in the cost of electricity.
And how is 2014 looking from a business perspective?
“My view is more of the same that we have experienced during the past 12 months unless there is some form of new investment that will provide a considerable number of new jobs,” he said, adding that this is something which is not likely to happen in the short term.
He also shared some of the activities by the Chamber in 2013.  For example, the Chamber continues to provide input into the air transport marketing study (which is funded by the U.S. Department of Interior and early last year ASG contracted the $599,999 project to UBM Aviation-ASM, based in Washington D.C.)
According to Robinson, the study should be ready early next year and will hopefully assist the American Samoa Visitors Bureau to bring more tourists here and assist commercial companies by identifying more frequent and cheaper air freight services.
In closing, Robinson expressed his appreciation to the Chamber for their support during the five-years as chairman. He did not seek a post for the new year, but will remain a member of the business association.


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