I don’t believe that the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry is in a good state. It hasn’t been looking after the business community for quite a while and to most businesses in Bahrain, it’s dead but somebody forgot to officially bury it.
To wit, what we hear from the BCCI is the constant chest thumping and false promises. Its board of directors seem to be more interested in scoring personal points, get on to travel gigs and do whatever possible to benefit themselves rather than their electorate. As a paying member for 27 years, I cannot remember a single instance where the Chamber has helped me or just paved the way for my business and others in a similar vein to success.
The Chamber has become irrelevant. It has no function to play within the business community. It is high time that its suffering be ended and it be put to rest. No new elections and no new blood can ever bring it back to its halcyon days. Those are just a memory. A blip on the horizon. And the future with its digital more agile economy doesn’t require it.
One reason for this stasis is its complete legal subservience to the government. The minister of commerce exercises oversight over its decision and nothing can be promulgated without his consent. That takes away its critical independence through which it can actually serve its electorate. If this fact alone doesn’t convince you, as a businessperson, to demand that it be closed down, then maybe you would be well served just to ignore it. This should be a primary goal of any block or person running for elections, but I fail to see this mentioned in any of their agendas, and if it’s there, they fail to outline how they’re going to regain that independence.
The other reason is that it is a(n allegedly) corrupt organisation. Some of its board members are said to be waist deep in this quagmire. And the board doesn’t seem to be interested enough to exercise its basic fiduciary responsibility to arrest this corruption, and hold those who are implicated to book. The government here is to blame too, as it has a decisive role to play and it seems to prefer to turn a blind eye. The public prosecutor should move and investigate these claims and do their job for the benefit of the whole society, not just businesses and businesspersons.
For example, here’s an audio electioneering clip allegedly done on behalf of one of a current board members who is standing for re-election, plainly offering bribes for votes. And he is just one. I wonder how many others are treading the same path. We will not know because no action, or even an investigation, appears to have taken place by the BCCI’s board.
We – as the business community – can’t be blamed to continue to hold the BCCI in contempt. One way for us to show this contempt is to forget about it, forget about its sham of elections and just get on with our work. Because the BCCI is not serious about doing the right thing, let alone looking after our interests. Its current structure is weak, its current board is by default supporting the alleged corruption by not taking action. The very least they could have done is suspend the person who has been implicated in this scandal while an independent investigation is conducted and the truth be unearthed. Transparently and professionally. Had they done that, at least they would have saved a little bit of face.
As to the current “blocks” who are so busy all of a sudden in their electioneering and over-sized promises – yes, even the cute Batman Movie Lot – they seem to all be conveniently forgetting the real importance of the Chamber’s independence. Rather than emphasising the issue of regaining the Chamber’s independence, they are bending over backwards to brush that issue under the carpet. So what – pray – are all of them really going to contribute to the advancement of businesses and the economy?
The BCCI will never augment our existence and it cannot and will not provide us with any platform off of which we can launch and maintain our success. We’ll continue to do that on our own. Thank you very much. Without any auspices of the defunct BCCI organisation.
Here. At least enjoy this little Batman skit.
They’re the dark knights. The saviours. But wait! Where’s the Joker? It’s that salesperson who sold them this. Tell him – if you know him or her – that s/he can get a job with me immediately! What a stellar job! What this clip tells me is that this lot simply does not realise the gravity of the situation. They think that their comically superhero characters are enough to convince people to turn out for them. They seem to think that what we really need in this country are weightless knights who can come and save us from our situation by us shining their Batman logo on the night’s sky. Nice one.