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CCCU presents draft of Harmonised Co-operative Societies Act to OECS

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The Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions (CCCU) has just completed extensive work on a draft revision of the Harmonised Co-operative Societies Act and submitted the customised documents today, with 249 legal provisions, to the 7 Governments of the OECS Member States a release from the CCCU said recently.{{more}}

This initiative at legislative reform was undertaken in order to increase the quality, range and competitiveness of the services provided by farmer, fisher, transport, industrial, youth savings and financial co-operatives to their 230,000 members in the OECS Union.

The current document emanated from exhaustive research including reviews of recent legislation from the US, Canada, the Bahamas and Barbados. Eighteen (18) participatory in-country seminars were also held over the past 2 years, involving over 650 stakeholders from all levels of the co-operative sector including directors, employees, the Registrars of Co-operatives and officials of the Financial Services Units.

Although the existing Harmonised OECS Cooperative Act has served the sub-region with distinction since 1995, the new Draft Act will safeguard and enhance the sustained growth achieved, amidst global challenges. The urgency of adopting and complying with higher levels of governance, transparency and accountability particularly in credit unions, in line with new international prudential, accounting and financial reporting standards, also prompted the drafting of this Bill.

The futuristic revisions proposed in the draft Act will therefore provide effective oversight for strengthened national regulatory authorities with responsibility for cooperatives, while serving as a detailed handbook for heightened compliance with international best practices by insiders – directors, employees and members.

The CCCU sees this investment in a new enabling policy and legislative framework as critical value-added for doing business within the OECS Economic Union and by extension within the CARICOM Single Market.

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