With the aim of starting consolidation and rebuilding of the co-operative sector in Guyana, the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security on Sunday last commenced a week of activities dubbed ‘National Co-operative Week’. The week is intended to lead up to International Co-operative Day on Saturday.
This year, the theme for International Co-operative Day, is “Driving Global Recovery through Co-operatives”.
According to Minister with responsibility for Labour, Manzoor Nadir, for more than four decades Guyana has been observing National Co-operative Week ahead of the internationally recognised day.
The Minister was at the time addressing media operatives gathered at the Ministry’s Cornhill Street boardroom yesterday.
Nadir reflected that like many overseas entities such as the International Co-operative Alliance, Guyana has been observing International Co-operative Day, since 1923. However, it was not until 1995 that the United Nations designated the first Saturday in July as International Co-operative Day. “I draw your attention to these international celebrations to bring recognition to the Global importance of Co-operatives. Unlike what some may want to believe, worldwide co-operatives can and do contribute to personal, community and national progress. (The) People’s Progressive Party Government has committed to ensuring that the co-operative sector is able to contribute to socio-economic development.”
Nadir noted, “We are committed to using this week to start the consolidation and rebuilding of the co-operative sector in our country.”
He pointed out that for the week of observance, the Ministry will be organising under the sub-theme of “Stimulating socio-economic well being through Co-operatives”.
In this regard, as part of the week of activities the Ministry will spearhead a national dialogue which will begin tomorrow and allow Government to retreat with stakeholders on a one-day symposium on co-operative reform, Nadir disclosed.
Another important aspect of the activities will include interactions with headmasters and headmistresses on the concept of school thrifts, the Minister added.
He pointed out that school thrifts are important in the developing and nurturing of a culture of savings among young people, even from a very young age.
The activities will reach an ultimate crescendo on Saturday when an exhibition is hosted in New Amsterdam to mark International Co-operative Day. This event, according to the Minister, will reaffirm that co-operatives are not only alive, but are still thriving.
Among the priorities for co-operative reform are the issues of good management and good governance within co-operatives, he said. In this regard, the Government recognises that “while we can do a lot by ourselves, we can also tap into the expertise of the international co-operatives community,” Nadir articulated.
Moreover, as part of this year’s Co-operative Week celebrations, the Ministry will be working closely with President of the Canadian Co-operatives Association, Mr. Dave Sitaram.
Sitaram, according to Minister Nadir, will offer his expertise as efforts are made to chart a new course for co-operatives.
He said that Sitaram is a Guyanese who has been integral in the Credit Union and Co-operative Movement in Canada and has pledged to work closely with Guyana to put co-operatives on the pedestal that it deserves and to ensure that they can grow, prosper and contribute to the social wellbeing of citizens.
According to Chairperson of Guyana National Co-operative Union Limited, Denise Benjamin, the union is the apex body for co-operative societies in Guyana, adding that wherever they are across the geographical divide they are affiliated to the union.
As the national voice for co-operatives, the union is recognised as a very important partner of Government in working with co-operatives in helping to build their management and helping to build commitment among members of such societies.
Chief Co-operative Development Officer, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, said that also as part of this week’s activities, persons at the division of co-operatives will endeavour to strengthen their roles as the monitoring and regulatory agency.
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