French-side Chamber of Commerce celebrates 10th anniversary with events | THE DAILY HERALD

Guests look at the collage of photos from the past 10 years on view in the Chamber of Commerce. (Robert Luckock photo) Cu7d President Daniel Gibbs and Chamber President Angèle Dormoy cut the ribbon to open the photo exhibition. (Robert Luckock photo)

MARIGOT–Chambre Consulaire Inter-Professionelle de St. Martin (CCISM) inaugurated a photo and art exhibition on Tuesday evening at Maison des Entreprises, Concordia, as part of events continuing until the end of the month to celebrate its 10th anniversary in St. Martin. The event was officially opened with a ribbon-cutting by President of the Collectivité Daniel Gibbs and current CCISM President Angèle Dormoy. A collage of photos adorning the walls in the Opale conference room retraced the past 10 years, evoking happy memories and highlighting employees, members, and various personalities who have worked for the Chamber over the years. Among the images were photos of former Chamber Presidents Stephen Tackling and Jean Arnell.

Also featuring prominently was the late René Mathon, former President of the Marigot Merchants Association, who made a significant contribution to the economy of St. Martin. “Le Prix de L’Entrepreneur René Mathon” is a newly created award to help young entrepreneurs advance. Rules and application forms for this competition can be downloaded from the CCISM website before November 15. Three young entrepreneurs will be eligible to receive the prize. On another wall was an exhibition of the 2019 edition of “Faces of St. Martin”, a series of black and white portraits taken by several photographers and organised by award-winning photographer Steph Deziles. Renowned local artist Claudio Arnell presented one of his paintings named “Platforms,” (one painting on two canvasses) especially created for the exhibition. “My inspiration for this painting came from the Chamber’s 10-year logo, so I wanted to stay in the colour palette, but that was quite hard so I focused on shape and colour and then let my imagination wander and reflected on the journey of the Chamber,” explained Claudio. “The triangles that you see reach to a summit reflecting the aspirations of the Chamber to achieve great things. The background is based on a photo of the island. You also see flowers and different shapes in the painting that symbolise industry, commerce, artisans. It’s all quite subliminal.” Stephen Tackling was the founder and first President of the CCISM (2009-2013). He remembered the early years when St. Martin broke away from Guadeloupe to form its own independent Chamber. “We were formerly affiliated members of the Chamber in Basse-Terre but when we went independent in 2009 it created a lot of turmoil between us and Guadeloupe,” he recalled. “Basse-Terre had about 3,800 subscribed members and we had over 14,000. When we left, the Chamber in Basse-Terre closed down and joined the Chamber in Point-à-Pitre. “We had some very good years because we were still benefitting from the Taxe Additionel, a tax that comes off the Property Tax (Taxe Foncière). From the property tax we used to collect 2.75 per cent, about a million and a half euros a year. When the Collectivité created the “License Patente” and got rid of the property tax they forgot to take into account the tax that we were collecting so we went from a million and a half euros down to 450,000 euros a year, which threw the Chamber into debt. “But when I left, we still had money, but it wasn’t an easy time because we were disconnected from the French system. For about a year people still had to get on a plane to Guadeloupe to register a company and get their documents.” Dormoy thanked the staff for assisting in organising the exhibition. She said digitalisation is the way forward for the Chamber of Commerce in the future. “Our next conference will be about the Chamber of tomorrow, how to make everything easier and more convenient for the businessowner – making it easier to open a business, giving as much help as possible online to reduce the amount of time to create a business, and offering ample training,” she explained. “It’s the future, not only on this island, but nationally for all the Chambers. We started early because we only have 8,460 companies registered today. It’s easier for a small Chamber to embrace the concept.”

Source: The Daily Herald