July 15, 2009



This may not be the best of times for many, especially those in the private sector, who are experiencing declining sales and increased operating cost. I know many of you are experiencing anxious moments caused by the uncertain future but this too will pass.

The St. Lucia Small Business Association is experiencing once again very difficult times but it experienced such periods before. It comes with the territory. However, I am very confident that the opportunity for unity among business persons has never been greater. This is the time to bring creativity to the table. A collaborative approach will bring clarity to the vision. There are several solutions to the problems that we face at the moment but it will take dialogue aimed at solving the negative issues that confront all of us. Hope needs to be engendered into the society and the best approach for undertaking such a programme is by empowering SLISBA.

The government, regional and international agencies need to help SLISBA to form alliances that will expose the leadership of the Association to overseas business opportunities that can be duplicated in St. Lucia. There should be planned visits to specially selected countries with dynamic MSMEs that will be willing to share business information and even participate in joint ventures. I expect to hear a call for a Venture Capital Bank echoing from the hall of the 20th AGM. Big businesses in St. Lucia need to support SLISBA because SLISBA supports most of the businesses that trade with them. The importance of SLISBA should not be ignored.

I am reliably informed that SLISBA has been requesting assistance for several years to undertake an Audit of the MSME Sector in St. Lucia without success. We cannot continue to assume the needs of business persons, it is time we find out what their needs are.

I am hopeful that business persons will make a serious decision to attend the upcoming AGM, determined to meet the challenges that the global financial crisis has brought about. I am expecting that a strong Board of Directors will emerge and that the general membership will support the work of the Association by participating fully in the various projects that will be initiated in the months ahead. The Association will be as active as the members’ demands for services. There is much to be done. With the implementation of the EU programmes, SLISBA needs to strengthen its Secretariat and establish strong committees with persons who can respond to the international requirements as it relates to identifying funding opportunities and preparing project proposals. SLISBA is headed for the next level.

The micro, small and medium sized business sector continues to be afforded the support of a group of individuals under the banner of the Small Business Association which was established in 1980 and merged with the Manufacturers Association to form the St. Lucia Industrial and Small Business Association in 1989.

SLISBA celebrates 28 years of continuous service to the MSME sector through good and bad times without wavering from its responsibility to be the voice of the sector. Advocacy has been and continues to be the core activity of the Association. However, in recent years additional services were introduced. As the nation grapples with the current economic crisis which is fueled by global recession, SLISBA will have a vital role in ensuring the survival of businesses in St. Lucia.

It is touted that 85% of all businesses is in the MSME category. In the context of St. Lucia this figure is much higher. The challenge is to ensure the survival of the MSME sector so that employment levels could be sustained at the 2007/2008 level and even expand. I am not afraid to suggest expansion because there are many areas of business that are yet to be introduced locally. There are many micro businesses that can be introduced at the community level.

The 20th Annual General Meeting of SLISBA is scheduled to be held on Sunday, 2nd August, 2009 at the Palm Haven Hotel, Rodney Bay, Gros Islet (behind DIGICEL) at 3.00 pm. Business persons are encouraged to make every effort to attend the meeting.

I decided to write this article at this time so that adequate notice is given to those persons who would like to attend will have adequate time to prepare. The meeting is open all business persons.

Hereunder is my selected motivational piece of the week:
Love is the most important ingredient of life.
Your life echoes emptiness without it.
With it, your life vibrates meaning and warmth.
Love will shine through even in hardship.
You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments
that stand out, the moments when you have really lived,
are the moments when you have done things in a spirit of love.
If you have it, you don’t need to have anything else,
and if you don’t have it, it doesn’t much matter what else you have.
Treasure the love you receive above everything else.
It will survive long after your wealth and good health have vanished.
The way is not in the sky.
The way is in the heart.
Life in abundance comes only through great love.
© Copyright 2008

Keep the Faith; remember always God is in Charge, Dream Big and Expect Daily

Edward A. Harris
Freelance Journalist, Real Estate CyberSpace Specialist (RECS)
Websites: (ECREDMC)

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