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Cooperatives gear up for 2012 International Year of Cooperatives

Cooperatives gear up for 2012 International Year of Cooperatives


Preparations for activities to celebrate 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives are in their final stages and members representing all credit unions across the country{{more}} were brought up to speed with the plans at an all sector meeting last Tuesday, October 25.

Junior Bacchus, President of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Co-operative League, said that the purpose of the meeting was to involve all stakeholders in the preparation process.

He said that a lot of work had been put in by lobbyists to ensure that cooperatives worldwide are recognized and that it was not enough to simply set up a committee, but to get all individuals representing cooperative leagues involved.

“We feel that every single person involved should feel a part of the event and all disciples of cooperatives are critical to the success of IYC,” he said.

He further explained that all stakeholders’ functions included not just that of ambassador, but should be involved in shaping the future.

“That is the purpose of the meeting, to get all the stakeholders involved,” Bacchus continued, saying that the aim was to make the event not just a successful one, but to make it a “massive celebration”.

The United Nations has declared 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives in an effort to highlight the contribution of cooperatives to the socio-economic development and their impact on poverty reduction and social integration.

Angela Patrick, Manager of the Cooperative League, identified the three objectives of the event which include raising the awareness and promotion of the growth of cooperatives; recognition of the diversity of cooperatives and efforts to urge government to take measures aimed at creating a supportive environment for the further development of cooperatives.

“The range of activities covers a broad spectrum of issues,” Patrick said.

She, however, explained that all that is being done was expected to go beyond December 31, 2012.

“We need every hand and cooperative heart.”

The government was also lauded for its quick response in putting in the requisite legislative framework to facilitate the year of activities.

Minister of National Mobilisation Frederick Stevenson said in his presentation that the work by government was an indication of how important it saw the role of cooperatives.

“They are very important and dear to the heart of the government,” Stephenson said.

The work will, however, continue, the Minister said, as an Act to officially declare 2012 as the year of cooperatives will be taken to Parliament during the November 22 sitting.

He said that he expected that the Act will pave the way for the formal activities to mark the event. (DD)