Our History

The Executive Club

Before 1979, the only place where various private sector’s points of view could be exchanged was at The Executive Club, which consisted of hotel owners and managers.

These meetings, which were held once every month, rotated from one hotel property to another. They provided good opportunities for private sector members to voice their concerns and demonstrate their respective good corporate citizenship.

The members either announced their companies and / or the island, or they introduced new staff members that joined their organization on the island.

The annual event was the honoring of the island’s best and brightest high school students during graduation times in mid-June when companies proudly presented valuable gifts to the best graduating scholars to encourage them to further their studies in intuitions of higher learning abroad.

These meetings also provided member businesses with the opportunity to invite members of the island’s then-Executive Council to clarify objectives purposes, and intentions of new island Resolutions by the island Council of Federal Legislature that affected their operations on St. Maarten.


Training and Study Leave

From the early 1970s, the island’s modern hospitality industry provided suitable on-the-job training and supplemented study leave for qualified employees to take courses abroad at reputable institutions during the summer months when operations were not as demanding to gain additional professional instructions.


The Chamber Establishment

During 1979 – 1992, the Chamber was led by three prominent business persons, who at one time served as the board’s president, i.e. Mr. Charles Vlaun, Mr. Franklin Brison, and Mr. Wilfred de Weever. They were supported by a staff of two persons – Mr. Louis Peters and Ms. Syrma Alberts – with intermitting staff members.

With the development of Philipsburg and the influx of various other services and off-shore businesses, there was a growing demand for a Chamber of Commerce and Industry in St. Maarten.

After leaving Island Gem Enterprises N.V. in January 1979, Mr. Louis Peters, with encouragement from the Lt. Governor, Mr. Theodore Maxwell Pandt, solicited the Minister of Economic Affairs of the former Netherlands Antilles, Mr. Mauritz Larmonie, to provide the necessary decree to realize the Dutch Windward Islands with its own Chamber of Commerce and Industry. That solicitation formed the incentive for the minister to issue his ministerial decree to establish The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Dutch Windward Islands on March 12, 1979.


The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry

In 2010 the name changed to The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI)

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