SVG Cooperative League takes over Kingstown
The march, which began at the Richmond Hill Playing field at 3:00 pm, saw members of the countryâs cooperatives marching around Kingstown, then to Heritage Square, where a rally was held.
Young pannist Saeed Bowman got the rally underway with a rendition of the National Anthem. This was followed by an invocation by Richard Cumberbatch.
In recognition of past and founding members of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Cooperative League, one minute of silence was observed.
Following the minute of silence, it was then time for the entertainment package, which featured a performance of the IYC theme song, “Building Cooperationâ by Shaunelle Mc Kenzie, poetry, dance and other cultural presentations.
The keynote address at Fridayâs rally was delivered by stalwart cooperator and former President of the General Employees Cooperative Credit Union (GECCU) RenÃ© Baptiste, who traced the origins, impact and future development of the SVG Cooperative movement.
One of Baptisteâs focal points during her address was the achievements of the local cooperative movement since inception. With a stronghold of over 60,000 members, the St Vincent and the Grenadines Cooperative league is ranked second in the world in relation to its penetration rate.
It was also disclosed that with assets in excess of EC$305 million, cooperatives in St Vincent and the Grenadines make substantial contribution to the economy.
“All the cooperatives in this area give yourselves a round of applauseâ¦ You deserve it because you have worked hardâ¦
“You are no small player, you are a big fish,â Baptiste stated.
Baptisteâs remarks received a standing ovation from those gathered at the rally.
Brief remarks were also made by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development Ralph Gonsalves, as well as Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace.
Both leaders in their short remarks commended the cooperative movement for its contribution to the nationâs economy.
Other featured speakers at the event were Frederick Stephenson, Minister of National Mobilization and Social Development; Junior Bacchus, President of the SVG Cooperative League; Cecil Jackson, Registrar of Cooperatives and this countryâs Focal Point to the UN on IYC.
Solidarity messages were delivered by the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions (CCCU); the Eastern Caribbean Cooperative Central Ltd (ECCCL); and presidents of local cooperatives.
The theme for International Year of the Co-operatives is “Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better Worldâ.
The United Nations General Assembly declared 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives, highlighting the contribution of cooperatives to socio-economic development, particularly their impact on poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration.
The United Nations General Assembly Resolution AG/RES/64/136 encourages all member States, the United Nations and all relevant stakeholders to take advantage of the IYC to promote cooperatives and raise awareness of their contribution to social and economic development and promote the formation and growth of cooperatives.(AA)