Georgetown Chamber wants compulsory membership

(www.stabroeknews.com)

Stabroek Business has learnt that the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) could be seeking the passage of legislation designed to make membership of the Chamber compulsory for business houses that qualify.

Senior Vice President of the Chamber and Management Specialist, Vishnu Doerga told Stabroek Business in an interview on Wednesday that while this is not the first occasion on which the idea of compulsory membership of the Chamber had arisen he hoped that the  idea of a  significantly expanded Chamber would find greater favour with all sections of the society including both the business community and the political leadership and government.

Doerga said that plans to push for mandatory membership of the Chamber were intended to strengthen the Chamber and

Vishnu Doerga

provide it with the capacity to offer a broader range of enhanced services to its members. Doerga said that making membership of the GCCI compulsory would also give significantly more meaning to the idea of the private sector being a key player in the country’s economy. He said that other countries in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) had long had a regime of compulsory Chamber membership and that in those instances the Chamber had been able to provide valuable services for its members. Chamber membership is compulsory in Suriname.

Doerga told Stabroek Business that the revival of the Chamber’s push for compulsory membership was, among other things, aimed at enhancing the financial capacity of the organization. According to the senior Chamber official, while the potential membership of the Chamber amounts to upwards of 14,000 businesses, the current membership base is probably around 100. Doerga told Stabroek Business that he believed that a viable Chamber needed a membership of around 5,000.

According to Doerga, the Chamber was continuing to persuade small businesses to take advantage of the ‘window’ created to allow for membership by enterprises that had not traditionally been allowed access.

The Chamber’s membership fees per annum are set at $100,000 for large businesses; $50,000 for medium sized enterprises; $25,000 for small enterprises and $12,000 for micro enterprises.