(PRESS RELEASE) – On Thursday October 18 2018, the Producer and Service Co-operatives Sector in Saint Lucia ended a four day workshop (Monday 15- Thursday 18) at the National Skills Development Center in Vieux Fort on the subject of Leadership and Governance.
Some thirty nine (39) individuals who are members of boards, supervisory committee, staff of the Department of Co-operatives and the Department of Fisheries, and Managers of these societies kept the momentum going for four days packed with pertinent information on how to shift the Co-operative thrust to encompass a more businesslike approach whilst being mindful of the core values and principles of Co-operatives to ensure the growth and sustainability of the sector.
A capable and well known icon in the Co-operative movement in the person of Mr. Melvin Edwards along with two partners namely, Nakita Edwards and Dorwin Manzano took the participants through a range of topics including but not limited to: Co-operative Principles and values, The UN Sustainable Development Goals, Co-operative structure and roles, Financial statements, etc
A cross section of the sector was in attendance: Fishing, Farmer, Transport Co-operatives were all well represented. Apart from the imparting of knowledge, this forum provided an opportunity for networking and linkages within the sector. It was highlighted that this sector has been marred with quite a bit of negativity whilst the positive and impactful attributes of the sector seem grossly under reported. There are indeed many success stories of co-operatives who have impacted greatly and continue to impact the lives of ordinary Saint Lucians all over the island, everyday. As we have been equipped with much needed knowledge, this will sure set a stage whereby we can begin once again to take our rightful place within the economic space of Saint Lucia.
This four (4) day workshop would not have been made possible without the partnership of key agencies who continue to inject hard earned monies for these very important ventures.
Allow me to distinctly highlight the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme through its local representative Mr. Giles Romulus. When the deficiency was highlighted and correcting it prioritized, the Department of Co-operatives under the new leadership of Mr. Egbert Stevens sought to be proactive in taking steps to correcting it. Through dialogue the Goodwill Fishermen’s Co-operative (Vieux Fort) applied for grant funding from GEF under a project that would build capacity of the management of these Co-operatives as a means of equipping them with the know-how to build climate change resilience. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Co-operatives also partnered with us on this venture.
Kudos goes to all the partners in this venture: funders, participants, Department of Co-operatives, Department of Fisheries, Primary producer and service Co-operatives. It was indeed timely as we culminated on the day when our sister sector the Credit Unions (Financial C-operatives) celebrated International Credit Union Day.