Address the gathering: Ambassador Michael King, Ambassador Elam Thomas, Consul General
Kent Hyppolyte, Deputy Consul General Kirk Francois, other distinguished guests, Ladies and
Good evening & welcome to the 15th CACCF Annual Gala.
It is indeed an honor for me to welcome to Orlando and to this Gala, our special guest speaker
His Excellency Mr. Michael King, Ambassador of Barbados to the United States and Permanent
Representative to the Organization of American States. We are indeed honored that Your
Excellency has accepted our invitation to come to Orlando especially for this occasion.
I also take this opportunity to welcome Ambassador Harriet Elam Thomas, former US
Ambassador-in Residence at UCF, Consul General for St. Lucia Mr. Kent Hyppolyte and Deputy
Consul General for Trinidad and Tobago Mr. Kirk Francois. Thank you very much for joining us
Distinguished guests, members of the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce of Florida,
ladies and gentlemen:
2005 was a good year for our organization.
• We have strengthened ties with local government officials and the Caribbean Business
• We have increased our membership through our monthly luncheons
• And we are part of the informal mechanism called the Conference of Heads of Caribbean
Let me first speak of our participation with the latter.
In February 2005, the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce of Florida with the
Conference of Heads of Caribbean Organizations took part in a dinner meeting with the
Caribbean Consul Generals, city, county and state officials. Many issues were discussed
including, Trade, Investment and Tourism.
From this meeting we were able to establish an exploratory committee to look at the possibility
of establishing a cargo-shipping link from Port Canaveral to the Caribbean. We are optimistic
this project will be a success for our future economic development here in Central Florida.
Also, in October of 2005 in a meeting with Caribbean Consul Generals and the local police
chiefs of Central Florida, local points pertaining to security and law enforcement were discussed
with recommendations from both sides relative to improved communications and security.
In 2005 the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce of Florida began assisting its members
with their grand openings and ribbon cutting ceremonies. We had the honor to open Diyaljee
Jewellers, Kad Designs, and Universal Realty (Depak Brokers and Associates).
We were appreciative to have Deputy Consul General Kirk Francois help open Crystals West
Indian Cuisine. I would like to thank the membership committee for all their efforts in making
this project a reality.
The 2005 directory was well received, as it was the book of choice for many community
organizations and individuals to know who were their Caribbean Business owners. Our
communications committee also was successful in producing the new 2006 Caribbean Business
Resource directory. I would like to thank them for a job well done.
We will continue to work progressively in 2006 as we embark on new projects with our members
and the Caribbean community.
We intend to strengthen our monthly luncheons through our leads group, by focusing on issues
that affect Caribbean and American businesses.
For the first time last December the Chamber was officially represented at the annual Miami
Conference on the Caribbean Basin and we intend to participate in the future.
We are one of the main sponsors of the Trade Expo with our corporate member Hemispheric
Ventures on June 1st to the 3rd. We will use all our resources available to ensure the success of
the Trade Expo.
We will work with all Caribbean Consul Generals in assisting them in setting up seminars or
conferences for Trade and Investment for the Caribbean. Our organization will also work with
Metro Orlando Economic development Center and Enterprise Florida in having a Trade Mission
from Florida to the Caribbean for our members.
Details of this project would be available later in the year.
Last year we worked the First Haitian Community Center in their 2005 Caribbean Health Fair.
This year we shall again work with them and we will encourage all of our health care
professionals to actively take part in this activity, as we strive to improve on the health and
education of every Caribbean and American in central Florida.
We also intend to increase our scholarship donation in 2006, and we encourage our members
invest in our children, for they are our future.
We already established scholarships at Devry University, University of Central Florida and
Valencia Community College for students specializing in Business, Nursing and Engineering.
Information about donating to our scholarship fund will be available on our website
We believe in a progressive 2006 and to that end we will work towards creating this organization
as a conduit for information relating to projects in the Caribbean. We intend to work with all
Caribbean governments towards better communication about government projects so that our
members can bid on these projects.
We will like to see more Caribbean Americans with the proper skills having the opportunity to
work in their homeland in the development of infrastructure, service and trade in the Caribbean.
To do this let me introduce to you the 2006 board of directors for the Caribbean American
Chamber of Commerce of Florida.
Haidar Ali Vice President
Mary Ann Sheriff â€“ Treasurer
Wesley Kirton â€“ Secretary
Irma Stenman â€“ Board Member
Leo Mendez â€“ Board Member (Past President)
John Munro â€“ Board Member
Mustapha Baksh- Chairman Emeritus
Karl Chung- Board Member
Gerry Grindly- Board Member
I would like to say that all these projects I just discussed would only be successful if we
corporate towards this end. The Chamber has provided the networking events, we encourage the
community to support our members, and I ask our members to support the community.
Drawing on Dr. Martin Luthur King's I have a dream speech, I would say that I have a dream
that one day the Caribbean will overcome its economic setbacks, will enjoy fair and beneficial
economic relationships within the international community and will successfully address health
issues such as HIV/ AIDS and we will boast of a Caribbean region and a Caribbean Diaspora of
which we will all be proud, with our sons and daughters creating new inventions, leadership and
promoting love and unity on the world stage.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you for your attention and your support.
Please remember that together we aspire, together we shall achieve.