Mirroring the ups and downs of St. Croix’s unstable economy, the president of the island’s Chamber of Commerce has resigned.
Charles Hensley gave up the unpaid position after less than a year. Noel Loftus, the former president, said Hensley had told the chamber’s board of directors he did not have enough time to devote to the organization.
Hensley could not be reached for comment.
Carmelo Rivera, a business consultant and University of the Virgin Islands instructor, will take Hensley’s place through the end of the year.
Rivera and Loftus said the chamber was having trouble raising money and maintaining membership levels, making it difficult to keep up with expenses.
"The next step," Rivera said, "will be to take a real hard look at the operation. We’re going to strengthen the chamber and make it more credible and more viable."
Loftus compared the problems at the chamber to those of the entire private sector on St. Croix. The declining membership, he said, mirrors a decline in sales and services.
The root of the problem, Loftus, a Senate candidate, maintains, is the Turnbull administration and the Legislature.
"I think what is happening to the chamber is an indication of what’s going on in the community," Loftus said. "The economy on St. Croix is awful.
"People are looking for help and solutions but nothing is happening. It’s happening both socially and economically."
Rivera said the 34-year-old St. Croix Chamber of Commerce is an institution that needs to be retained.
Loftus agreed. "Ultimately, the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce will survive," he said.

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