Notes from the Chair



Best wishes to all for a successful and prosperous 2014. I hope the festive break went well albeit too quickly. I have taken a new resolution of issuing a note to members on a quarterly basis to improve communications and keep members better informed of activities. These quarterly notes will be posted on the BBA website with members notified by e-mail when they have been posted. The secondary objective is to encourage increased utilization of the website by members by providing articles of interest as well as forward plans for events.

The refurbishment of our usual venue had a significant impact on our ability to maintain our program of events and I am glad to now report that normal service is expected to resume very soon. The arrival of Steve Graham as Head of BTO has been very positive with him being very keen to maintain our good working relationship and a desire to strengthen our business interaction. This is an area which will receive our focus during 2014.

November was a busy month with Mike Tunstall representing BBA at the annual MEA Opportunity Arabia (#10) conference held in Manchester where he presented a short presentation on opportunities in Eastern Province. We also saw a visiting Mission involving groups from North West, South East and Energy Industries Council (EIC) as well as a visit to Jubail, by Deputy Head of Mission Julian Riley.

Continuing on the business theme, I sent a couple of notes out last year in an attempt to assess the interest in setting up Special Interest Groups (SIG’s) and unfortunately the response was very disappointing. Undeterred we will be sharing ideas with BTO to identify opportunities to develop business activities that serve both the interests of BTO and BBA members. We will keep you updated on developments and will involve those who did respond on SIG’s to obtain their input, as appropriate. Further to the development of new business initiatives we are actively discussing a more formal business interaction with the BBBF to try and take of advantage of the common business interests arising from our geographical proximity. Please give us any input that you may have.

On the social front, we once again joined forces with the Bahrain British Business Forum (BBBF) to hold a very successful Poppy Ball on 7 November at the Crowne Plaza, Bahrain, with three Chelsea pensioners flown in as guests of honour, by British Airways. Proceeds of the event were shared between the Royal Chelsea Hospital, Earl Haig Fund in Scotland and the Women and Children’s Association in Bahrain. All good causes to support. To give you plenty of warning the Poppy Ball for this year is scheduled for 14 November, so put it in your diaries and make sure you don’t miss it.

Sadly, one of our active members, Philip Strasenburgh passed away in October and our thoughts go out to his family. Philip’s smiling face and jovial personality will be much missed at our events.

Finally, the Association is very much run for the members so any ideas and thoughts are welcomed and should be sent us for action and consideration. Of course, anything we do must be compatible with the difficult environment that we live.

Geoff Fennah MBE

Chairman, EPBBA