This week the private sector and members of the business community bid farewell to a young passionate leader who wants to realise the potential of Solomon Islands’ economy.
Dennis Meone, who hails from Tikopia in the eastern Solomon Islands, has been the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) for the last two years and seven months.
Since joining SICCI in May 2016, Mr Meone has been instrumental in raising the Chamber’s profile and was a strong advocate of private sector interests working constructively with the government, the Solomon Islands community and development partners.
“I have really enjoyed working at the Chamber, as a young Solomon Islander I am really passionate about the work that we do at the Chamber,” he said.
Mr Meone thanked all SICCI members too for their role in making the job interesting and enjoyable at the same time.
“It has been a great honour for me to serve the members of SICCI and I am humbled by the strong and consistent support I have had during the duration of my time as CEO.”
“The achievements made to date were possible through the ongoing and undivided support of members.
“The words of encouragement, the advice, both negative criticism and positive endorsement, the banter, it has led us to where we are today as an organization,” he said.
Mr Meone said the Chamber is in a good place and believes it will continue to grow from strength to strength.
“I will leave the Chamber with fond memories. Personally, the Chamber holds a special place for me because I believe that what the organization does is beyond individuals and is for the greater good.”
Mr Meone also thanked SICCI Board members both past and present for their stewardship.
“It has been a great privilege for me to serve under the successive Boards for the last two years and seven months.
“The achievements made to date is a reflection of the very capable leadership of the board and strong governance discipline,” he said.
Mr Meone also acknowledges the commitment of his team at the SICCI Secretariat.
“Our journey together as a team has come to an end, but our quest and belief for a better Solomon Islands continues and I strongly believe that you will continue with the good work you have done over the years.”
“I must say that everything we have achieved at the Chamber was because of the capable staff that we have and I must acknowledge them for their commitment,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Meone wishes great success to new SICCI CEO Ms Atenasi Ata.
“Over the last three months I have seen the strong leadership, the commitment, the passion and capability to lead the Chamber into the future. I strongly believe that under Ms Ata’s leadership the Chamber will reach even greater heights,” he said.
Ms Ata officially took over as SICCI CEO on 3 December 2018 after a three-months training period.
SICCI Board Chairman, Jay Bartlett thanked Mr Meone for his commitment and passion for not only the Chamber but as an emerging young leader in the country.
“Dennis has a genuine heart for the country and is a true patriot. It has been a great pleasure to work alongside him over the last 2 and a half years.
“We share the same beliefs that what we do is greater than who we are as individuals and the stakes are far too high for us to be bystanders in our development efforts.
“Thank you Dennis, I know you will go on to do great things and we wish you and your family all the best,” Mr Bartlett said.
One of the highlights of Mr Meone’s tenure as SICCI CEO was championing closer relations with Government as he believes that both the private and public sectors play important roles in such a very small economic context.
Mr Meone sees the importance of the private sector and the government working in partnership, where both parties can discuss issues openly and explore policy solutions that can encourage private sector-led growth.
The former SICCI CEO is also encouraged to see a lot of young people taking up leadership roles in both the private and public sectors.
“The biggest challenge for us, and this is a question for the young people, where do we see ourselves in the next 20 or 40 years as a country,” he said.
He said regardless of whether we are in the public sector or the private sector, we all have the same vision.
“We all want economic growth, improved standard of living, we want our children to have good jobs in the future, we want our children to access good health facilities, attend good schools with well-prepared teachers.
“It is all about working together and discussing some of the sensitive issues sometimes we do not want to talk about and how we can better deliver those services back to our people.
“I look forward for the next forty years of growth for the Solomon Islands,” Mr Meone said.
The SICCI Board and Secretariat staff hosted a separate farewell dinner for Mr Meone, which was followed by a Business After Five (BA5) event at the Heritage Park Hotel on Friday 14 December. On Friday, members of the business community, private sector and Government officials including Attorney General, John Muria Junior had the opportunity to bid farewell to the outgoing SICCI CEO.
Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry
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