“We are sounding a warning to other cooperatives; we are going to be dealing more seriously with you,” said Labour Minister Manzoor Nadir. The Minister was at the time addressing recipients of land titles in the Dazzell Housing Scheme Cooperative society last Sunday.
The Minister’s assertion was as a result of malpractices that abound in these institutions.
According to Minister Nadir those who are elected to manage the affairs of these societies take on the role of divine rulers. They decide how much money members should pay, whose membership is lapsing, and all this is done in an arbitrary way.
He said the Dazzell cooperative should be used as a model, although it had its share of tribulations.
He noted that members were led to the scheme like Moses led his followers to the Promised Land but they never received the promises. This prompted his Ministry to move in and fix a body that was in shambles.
According to him this was met with stiff opposition from those that were seeking selfish gains.
Nadir said that many cooperative members across Guyana will welcome the day they are able to receive tangible rewards from these bodies. He singled out Angoy’s Avenue Co-operative society, in New Amsterdam as a body that needs urgent attention due to its unacceptable state. According to him the members approached the Ministry to intervene because it (Co-op) was defunct and doing little for its members. He said that when the Ministry stepped in, five members filed an injunction preventing the Ministry from doing anything.
To date, this has prevented hundreds of members from benefiting from development that was imminent.
The Minister said that situations like these have prompted his Ministry to take tough action against such cooperatives that continue to mislead its members and misappropriate funds.
Another worrying trend on the upsurge in these areas is the number of squatters that are allowed to take up residence.
According to him there is a belief that if you squat you will be regularised, “but I believe in the principle of, instead of working and regularising the squatter, we should first work with those that want to obey law and order.”
There are hundreds of cooperative societies across Guyana that have been defunct or bedevilled by serious mismanagement issues. Cooperative members have been complaining of not being represented by the custodians of these institutions.
Additionally, there are numerous cases of skulduggery and abuse of power in these institutions. A cooperative society is an autonomous body that is elected by a group of members to manage the affairs of a particular area.
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