Saturday, May 9th, 2009

No resolution to Caribbean charter yacht show issue

Charter brokers from around the world gathered in Genoa joined a forum hosted by the Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association (MYBA) to discuss the future of the Caribbean charter show conundrum. 

Opening the event, newly elected chairman Neil Cheston asked delegates not to go over the past by raking the simmering coals of dispute that has led to the present difficult situation.

He admitted that MYBA had perhaps not made the right move when it rescued the then failing St Maarten show, but he stressed that when it did so, it was with a clear mandate from its membership.

He said that MYBA had still to honour the terms of their contract with the St Maarten Trades Association (SMTA), which would see MYBA support the show through 2009 and 2010.

Jeff Boyd, president of SMTA, took the floor and surprised delegates with his statement that his association would not hold MYBA to a contract it was not happy with and offered to absolve MYBA from that obligation to the 2010 show, but regretted that organisation and payments made were too far advanced to do the same for this year’s show.  He did not specify how future shows would be handled, but said he was extremely confident that there would be a show in St Maarten during 2010.

From the floor delegates were divided as to which of the two shows in the Caribbean should become the chosen vehicle best to promote the aims of the industry.  One suggestion from a delegate that the show alternate annually between St Maarten and Antigua was immediately embraced by Jeff Boyd, but emphatically refused by Janetta Miller, speaking on behalf of the organisers of the Antigua show, a venue that has hosted the show for the last 48 years.

At the end of the 1 ½ hour session there remained no conclusive agreement as to the future and it seems inevitable that the two shows will continue to go head to head together despite suggestions from delegates that doing so would badly affect the industry at a time when it was already suffering from the global financial situation.

It is likely now that MYBA will take further council from its members and seek the support of other bodies representing brokers around the world.

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