A group of business people on the island of Kosrae are trying to revitalize the Kosrae Chamber of Commerce after years of inactivity. Fred N. Skilling general manager of the Kosrae Utilities Authority owner of the FNS Office Center and stores and chairman of the new chamber told the Journal “There was a Kosrae Chamber of Commerce established and ran by the government’s commerce and industry department but it was not active for years.”

The Chamber is discussing the possibility of holding a business symposium. “The symposium would be a place where all the businesses can get together and discuss the issues and problems they face. We are hoping to have it this year and it would be a starting point for us to talk to businesses ” he said. A date for the symposium has not yet been finalized but Skilling would like to host it this summer.

“I hope the new Chamber of Commerce will help encourage private development on the island provide better training for the private sector and improve government policies that are hampering the private sector. I hope we can contribute to the private sector and help the island’s economy. I think the new organization to boost the Chamber of Commerce needs to have a lot of educational programs so businesspeople can understand the benefits and so we can attract new members. If the private sector is strong then the economy and the government will both benefit ” Skilling said.

In 2005 business people who wanted to start a new independent Chamber of Commerce began meeting but did not start organizing until this year. “The original Chamber never dissolved it was just inactive. Its bylaws and articles still exist and are in effect. We were just waiting for the attorney general’s opinion on the legality of articles and bylaws of the previous chamber of commerce. The AG’s office got back to us and told use that we could still use it ” he said.

After the group received the attorney general’s opinion in early 2006 it used the old bylaws and articles as a starting point for the new chamber and began to organize and elect new officers. The newly appointed officers include Skilling Canney Palsis and executive director of the Micronesian Legal Council’s Kosrae branch vice chairman of the chamber; Katrina Adams general manager of the Kosrae Village Resorts and secretary for the chamber; and Hairom Livae general manager of Triple H Shipping Lane Services treasurer for the chamber.

The new general members of the chamber are Witson Phillip general manager of the Federated States of Micronesia Telecommunication Corp.’s Kosrae branch; Brian Rogers general manager of the Kosrae True Value Store; Paulino Weilbacher general manager of the Kosrae White Sand Construction Co.; William Tosie owner and general manager of William Tosie Enterprises; and Thurston Siba owner and general manager of Thurston Enterprises.

Skilling said the chamber is planning to mail out invitations explaining what the chamber is and what the benefits are to businesses on the island. “We are hoping that these invitations will give us an idea of how many businesses on the island want to become members.” MBJ