ST. CROIX — The St. Croix Chamber of Commerce has elected as chairman Attorney Akeel St. Jean, who will lead the organization for the next two years.
Mr. St. Jean's tenure brings to an end that of former chamber head Ryan Nelthropp, who led the organization during the Covid-19 pandemic and whose leadership style had taken a proactive, vocal approach to matters affecting the business community. Mr. Nelthropp spoke up against a Senator Novelle Francis-sponsored online sales tax bill and against a Dec. 2019 V.I. Water and Power Authority rate increase proposal.
Mr. St. Jean will lead the organization at a time when the local economy has been badly impeded by the Covid-19 pandemic and one where many businesses have been forced to close their doors as a result of decreased revenue.
"These are trying times for the business community," he said. "I am honored to have been elected to this position. We must begin advocating for policies that will spur economic development so that we can get more Virgin Islanders back to work."
Mr. St. Jean is a corporate attorney who represents dozens of businesses. He is also a former prosecutor who during his early years clerked for judges on the Maryland Court of Appeals before returning home to clerk for Judge Robert Molloy.
The chamber's membership has included hundreds of businesses over the years.