The move to relieve the management committee of its control of the Guyana Public Service Cooperative Credit Union Limited [GPSCCU] has been deemed an illegitimate move.
In fact Chairperson of the GPSCCU Committee, Ms. Patricia Wendt, at a press conference yesterday said that the Committee is especially appalled that Cabinet has not yet pronounced on the issue.
At the Critchlow Labour College, she said that the Committee is perturbed, too, that the action was taken on the eve of the country’s 52nd Independence Anniversary.
The press conference, based on Wendt’s disclosure, was held in retaliation to a Ministry of Social Protection statement published in the Independence Day edition of this newspaper under the headline ‘Government takes control of troubled Public Service Credit Union’.
Yesterday Wendt informed that the GPSCCU considers it necessary and important to respond to the press statement. She also made reference to letters that were sent to the union on May 25 last.
The letters in question from Ms. Perlina Gifth, who according to Wendt, “under the guise of the Chief Cooperatives Development Officer” advised that in keeping with the authority vested in her as Chief Cooperatives Development Commissioner, assumed control of the Affairs of the GPSCCU.
This development which became effective Friday has by extension caused the members of the Committee’s management to cease to function, Wendt underscored.
“It should be noted that no reason was stated for the action of the assumed Chief Cooperatives Development Officer,” said Wendt who, however, observed that in the article published by this publication it was stated that “the decision was taken after carefully considering the unsatisfactory performance of the previous management team which failed to manage the affairs of the society in the best interest of its members.”
The police on Friday were called in to aid with the commandeering of the Hadfield Street GPSCCU office. As at yesterday the gates to the office remained closed.
“Everybody get [sic] locked out; the door, the gates are locked [and] there are notices on the building. They even put out our guard that we had; we had our security guards and they put them out Friday afternoon,” Wendt lamented yesterday.
Given her assurance that the Committee has done nothing wrong, Wendt said, “We object to the actions of the purported Chief Cooperatives Development Officer.” Her remarks were also nestled in the fact that “there was no investigation into the affairs of the Credit Union to support the published conclusion and accusation of unsatisfactory performance.”
As she sought to defend the committee’s honour, Wendt asserted that although it is the claim of the Chief Cooperatives Development Officer that her move was the result of poor performance, “in fact the matter was rooted in the demand by the Department of Cooperatives for an undue payment to the Audit, and Supervision Fund for years 2002-2013 of an alleged balance of $49,691,682.”
Also speaking at the press conference was Ms. Vera Naughton, Vice Chairperson of the Management Committee, who questioned, “If we were to give $50 million to the Ministry, what would happen to our shareholders? Obviously it will be $50 million short when we are going to look at our dividend, so obviously our members will suffer and this is what we don’t want.”
“We are going to the next step; we are going to sit now and discuss the way forward and [with] our decision, there must be a resolution. Even if it means we have to engage His Excellency we will go that way,” said Member of the Management Committee, Ms. Dawn Gardner.
She added, “There must be a resolution because thousands of our members are suffering; people want loans, people want to repair. It is every day we issue loans and we are not going to deny a shareholder from a loan…we all are shareholders and we want loans too,” stressed Gardener.
The Credit Union, Wendt said, contends that the Department of Cooperatives’ claim to outstanding payments towards the Audit and Supervision Fund could not be justified given that the already audited Accounts of the Credit Union for the years 2002 to 2010, reflected no such balance, as was claimed.
In addition, she noted that the Cooperative Officer also “failed to acknowledge waivers that were approved and granted by the previous Minister of Labour, Human Services and Social Security. (These) to date are still in effect.”
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