Address The Gathering

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Address The Gathering

  1. 1. Address the gathering: Ambassador Michael King, Ambassador Elam Thomas, Consul General Kent Hyppolyte, Deputy Consul General Kirk Francois, other distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen: 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 this evening. 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 Community. • We have increased our membership through our monthly luncheons • And we are part of the informal mechanism called the Conference of Heads of Caribbean Organizations.
  2. 2. 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
  3. 3. 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.
  4. 4. 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 www.caccf.com. 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 – Treasurer Wesley Kirton – Secretary Irma Stenman – Board Member Leo Mendez – Board Member (Past President)
  5. 5. John Munro – 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. God Bless.

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