Monday, April 13, 2009

Roy Hastick, One Master of Networking

The founder of the Caribbean-American Chamber of Commerce (CACCI) is like most leaders astute, charismatic and controversial. Roy Hastick, Sr. migrated from Grenada to the US in 1976 with many plans, all of them fired by a want to dramatically improve his standing in society and do the same for others. Dr. Hastick is known for saying in a calm, steady voice, “You can lead a camel to water but you can’t make it drink.” This statement relates to assisting Caribbean and African-American people make more profitably sustaining business decisions.

His astuteness is shown through initially advocating for “West Indian concerns.” He was part of West Indians for Koch. One rationale for the backing being the city’s elected ought not assume blacks would automatically vote Democrat nor assume Republicans weren’t willing to address the needs of the West Indian community. By the time CACCI was birthed in 1985, Hastick’s consciousness widen to realize the West Indies were actually the Caribbean Basin and the Africans on this side of the Atlantic needed to join hands for their collective success. Make no mistake, while CACCI offers several business assistance services, runs a financial literacy program, gives Business Visionary Awards and holds networking events in New York, CACCI is a bi-national chamber of commerce with the mission of facilitating two-way trade between the Caribbean and the United States.

The controversy surrounding the man is his eye on God. His meetings begin and end with prayer. His predilection is Judeo-Christian tenets. Dr. Hastick included the announcement of his child’s acceptance of Jesus Christ as his savior at a past holiday meeting. His membership of approximately 1,500 sees the value of CACCI and Roy Hastick’s great business and government connections. Marcia Melendez owner of 25-year-old FlowerWorks and franchiser of over 150 Golden Crust stores Lowell Hawthorne are counted in that number. Maybe most follow Malcolm X’s suggestion to put your religion in the closet temporarily for the greater good of the people.

Though a stroke hit him in January 2008, CACCI’s CEO was wise and ready for an interview done December 18. While others may panic over the current recession, Hastick is positive. “I see hope on the other had. Now is the time for small businesses to review their business plans, connect with other entrepreneurs and learn to access federal, state and city resources,” remarked Hastick. “Join business improvement districts, merchant associations and chamber of commerce. They’re here to grow commerce for the collective good. The SBA and Business Solution Centers have answers. In fact, the SBA has dedicated business assistance for veterans.”

What keeps CACCI afloat is the membership dues and corporate sponsors; therefore the organization isn’t constrained by the current lack of credit. “Most businesses rely on credit for their working capital, explains Hastick, “This is how leases, inventory, and employee payroll is paid.” There are such credit sources as NYS Business Development Corp and credit worthiness is paramount. Hastick stresses receiving mortgage counseling and reviewing one’s credit report throughout the year.CACCI is on the verge of closing a contract with NYC to purchase property in East Flatbush near Erasmus Hall High School. The undisclosed location is 2,800 s.f. that will be the home for the Caribbean Trade Center after renovation of a two-story building. Renovation is estimated to commence late 2009

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