JA/USA Chamber of Commerce Launched in South Florida


Scores of Jamaican entrepreneurs, corporate leaders and investors eying investment opportunities in Jamaica turned out at the official launch of the Jamaica USA Chamber of Commerce, Florida (JAUSACC), last Wednesday (March 10) in Fort Lauderdale.
The event, which is being viewed as another link in the strengthening of relations between Jamaica and the United States, also saw the installation of the board of directors of JAUSACC.
Marie Gill, a Jamaican businesswoman of MGILL & Associates, a Miami consulting firm that helps small and minority businesses, was appointed President of the Board.
JAUSACC is the brainchild of Jamaica’s Consul General to the Southeast USA, Ricardo Allicock, as he saw the growth of the Jamaican community and its impact and contribution to the local communities and to the Island’s development.
Consul General Allicock, in his remarks, said that his encouragement to Jamaican businesses to form the Chamber was in conjunction with the Government’s intensified focus on incorporating the Diaspora in Jamaica’s national development.
While remittances form a significant part of Jamaica’s economic backbone, the Consul General said: “There is no question that the further nurturing of trade within the Diaspora and between overseas communities and Jamaica can only result in greater positive economic development for our nation.”
He stressed that the purpose of the Chamber was to deepen and expand the range of trade relationships between the Diaspora and Jamaica, as well as to create opportunities for trade among Jamaica, within the Diaspora and the wider international environment.
The Chamber’s board, comprising 20 Jamaican business owners and corporate entities, in its mission statement outlined its commitment to empower its members to create and promote trade, while strengthening economic and cultural opportunities between Jamaica and the United States.
A non-profit organization, the Chamber also seeks to create trade opportunities and the strengthening of regional, national and international commercial relationships, particularly in relation to Jamaica, the Jamaican Diaspora and the United States.
The JAUSA Chamber of Commerce membership, under the umbrella body of the Association of Bi-National Chambers of Commerce (ABICC), provides immediate access for Jamaican members to some 40 countries represented by ABICC.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Delano Franklyn, who addressed the audience, commended the efforts of the core group and encouraged them to continue operating as a team.
He urged them to be innovative and vigilant as they used their ideas to deepen trade relations within the region. The Minister noted that the makeup of JAUSACC’s board of directors defined the positive strength of Jamaicans in “our overseas communities”.What was described as ‘brain drain’, according to the State Minister, was in his view, “Jamaicans satisfying other markets as well as our own”.
Minister Franklyn said that the movement of labour should not be restricted, but supported, as it created positive economic opportunities for Jamaica “as well as where we settled overseas”.
Chairman of the FTAA, Ambassador Charles Cobb echoed sentiments of the strengthening of relations between Jamaica and Florida. He spoke of collaborative efforts already made through the Building Bridges Initiatives recently launched by the United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Sue Cobb, in the areas of law enforcement, the women exchange programme to enhance volunteerism, and also plans to enhance trade and investments.
George Knox, attorney of the Miami-based law firm, The Knox Firm, also addressed the gathering, reminding his audience to pay attention to the rules of the marketplace especially where it applied to trade and commerce.
He encouraged the membership to be persistent and consistent for the organization to be effective.

JIS Social