The Falkland Islands Chamber of Commerce held its 29th Annual General Meeting on Friday, 30th September 2022. During the meeting, members re-elected Mike Summers as Chairperson and Marika McKay as a Director of the Board. Mark Neves stepped down as a Director, and members had nominated Sam Cockwell to the Board in his stead.
Commenting on the two years he spent on the Board, Mark Neves said “The last few years have been a very interesting time for the Chamber but ultimately has seen it grow, and membership expand. Being involved in the Board has given me a greater understanding of the good work that the Chamber does to support its members and the wider economic community of the Falkland Islands.
The Chamber, in my opinion, is central to that future economic growth to advocate on behalf of Chamber members and to keep in the forefront of FIG Directors and MLAs the importance of the private sector in the future development of the Falkland Islands. FIG are more likely to take the views of the Chamber to heart if they believe the Chamber truly speaks for the business community.“
Mark concluded, “It is thus essential that the Chamber is supported by its members in any way our members can support. I appreciate that we do not all have the time to volunteer for the Board, but by just responding to Chamber surveys or attending public meetings, we can all demonstrate our views. As such, I wish all the best to the Board and the new Board member.”
Replacing Mark, and with a background in Environmental Sciences and Engineering, and several years the Oil and Gas industry and the Falkland Islands Government, Sam Cockwell brings a broad range of experience to the Chamber Board. With a current focus on the energy transition in the Falkland Islands through Atlink subsidiary eLink, Sam is working to develop environmentally sustainable solutions for transport and energy.
On hearing the news of his appointment, Sam commented “I am delighted to join the Board of the Chamber of Commerce. The private sector in the Falkland Islands is dynamic and forward-focused, and I am eager to work with the Chamber, Falkland Islands Government, and other stakeholders to ensure that businesses can continue to flourish in the ever-changing business environment. Sustainable development and environmental solutions are very close to my heart, and I am keen to share that passion with the Chamber.”
With Mike Summers returning as Chairperson, he provided members of the Chamber with an overview of activities over the past 12 months, including an in-depth discussion on the Chamber’s current identified priorities.
Following the meeting, Mike Summers summarised, “It is essential that the Chamber of Commerce represents its membership, and all businesses, in a way that allows us to encourage the development of the private sector economy in the Falkland Islands. We can only do this with the support of our members, particularly those who give up their time freely by attending events, sharing their views, or volunteering to sit on our Board.
I would like to thank Mark for his valuable contributions to the Chamber, particularly surrounding work on education & training development, over the last two years. In his place we welcome Sam, who brings a different set of skills, and whose experience will be valuable in helping the Chamber to understand how we can continue to encourage the development of the green economy in the Falkland Islands. We are also excited to see Marika remain on the Board to contribute her extensive experience from the retail sector.”
Mike continued, “2023 is an important year for the Falkland Islands Chamber of Commerce as we turn 30. After three decades of lobbying for and supporting business development in the Falklands, we’ve come a long way, but we still don’t have a fully developed economy and are still overly reliant on the fishing industry. Now is the time to look to the future, to take stock of where we’ve come from, where the Chamber and our economy are now, and what we want to achieve over the next 30 years. We need to ensure the Chamber remains relevant to businesses of all sizes, and that we’re doing what we can to bring tangible benefits to our members, the local economy, and our community.”
The Falkland Islands Chamber of Commerce will soon begin to work on a programme of events to celebrate its 30th anniversary in May 2023, with more detail to be announced in due course.
Following the AGM the Chamber of Commerce’s elected Board of Directors is as below:
Officers: Chairperson: Mike Summers, Vice-Chairperson: Sally Ellis, Treasurer: Hamish Wylie
Directors: James Bates, Sam Cockwell, Steve Dent, Gareth Goodwin, Marika McKay,