Chamber delegation explores cooperation possibilities

POSTED: 02/21/12 12:15 PM

St. Maarten – The Tallahassee-St. Maarten Foundation Inc. (TLH-SXMF) Director Arthur Lugisse, along with the President of the TLH-SXMF Ben Harris, welcomed St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry Executive Director Claret Connor and Board member Tamara Leonard to Tallahassee, Florida on Sunday afternoon.Connor and Leonard are on a fact-finding three-day working visit to Florida’s Capital City Tallahassee at the behest of Chamber President Arthur Bute who was part of a delegation that visited the Capital back in 2000.
According to Lugisse this trip is focused on economic development and business linkages/ventures segment of the Tallahassee – St. Maarten sister-city partnership. The delegation will also look at opportunities in renewable energy and expansion on business development.
“The small delegation is here to familiarize themselves with the positive opportunities for joint-ventures between Tallahassee and St. Maarten public and private sectors to promote business development as a program starting in 2012, the 3s Community-Culture and Commerce {Caribbean-USA } and 20-20 Vision. President Obama has just made a good move to offer financing to U.S. companies to match their foreign competitors with the goal of helping American industries compete on a large scale,” Lugisse said.
“I think it’s the right time to provide USA small businesses the opportunity to do joint ventures with the Caribbean. Potentially speaking, some USA companies might be doing 20% business locally and 30% regionally but with an added 40% internationally they would be doing 90%, a definite increase to their bottom line. They would become stronger, more sustainable, and able to better support their existence in the business market. The platform to promote our country in the USA, with focus on creating opportunities is the Sister City relations between Tallahassee and St.Maarten based on the 12-year-old agreement,” Lugisse also explained on Sunday.
The support for local USA companies to engage in the international markets is provided by entities such as the EXIM-BANK, Small Business Association, eFLORIDA, Economic Development Corporation, Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Commissioner Akim Akinyemi, Cariamerica, Mayor John Marks, Commissioner Andrew Gillum, City Manager Anita Favors, Commissioner Bill Proctor, Obersi Group of Companies, Omni Global LLC, King Arthur’s Tools, Simpler Solar Systems, and the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce.
“We believe we can be the networking agent between all and more of these various organizations and individuals to create a deeper, broader marketplace for Florida and the Caribbean. We can make a significant difference in bridging the gaps, connecting the dots and seamlessly transitioning the present Florida/Caribbean marketplace into a new more vigorous one.
“St. Maarten as a stepping stone to the Caribbean and Tallahassee as the springboard to the rest of the USA, offer unlimited possibilities for growth and development globally,” Lugisse concluded.
Lugisse added that a new TV program about economic and development will soon be aired on WTN TV Channel 10, a TLH-SXM Foundation partner. The program will be called, “The Voice of the People,” addressing doing business on St. Maarten, cost of living, telecommunications, the environment, unemployment, business opportunities, training, education and certification.

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