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General Employees Co-operative Credit Union embarks on its 50th anniversary celebrations

General Employees Co-operative Credit Union embarks on its 50th anniversary celebrations

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Activities heralding the commencement of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the General Employees Co-operative Credit Union (GECCU), began in earnest last week.{{more}}

A press conference to launch the celebrations kicked off simultaneously with a members’ appreciation day on Thursday October 17 (World Credit Union Day), at the GECCU main office in Kingstown.

While customers were treated to snacks and drinks on the main floor, senior officials of the credit union were in the conference room informing the media and listening public of activities and events scheduled to take place over the next year.

Lennox Bowman, Chief Executive Officer of the cooperative revealed that an anniversary committee and seven sub-committees had been established, to ensure that the more than year-long celebrations were memorable.

The sub-committees are history and legacy, youth activities, education and awareness, social activities, corporate social responsibility, new services and networking and technology committees.

“These committees worked very hard to come up with a programme of activities which will form a calendar of events,” Bowman indicated.

“Most of what we will be doing will be focused on making sure that the members enjoy the 50 years of hard work. Added to that, we will be focusing on making sure that the people who made GECCU; volunteers and staff, get their due recognition,” he added.

The CEO also said that a number of objectives were set by each sub-committee, and these include the strengthening of allegiance of members, advancing the place and importance of GECCU on a regional and national level, heightening the significance of youth programmes, increasing the commitment of staff and volunteers, as well as increasing the recognition and respect of GECCU and the credit union movement, among others.

A documentary, commemorative magazine, health and fitness walks and a pioneer lecture series, are some of the events Bowman indicated were planned for the next 15 months.

Also speaking at the launch was GECCU board Chairman Clarence Harry, who indicated that the credit union has mushroomed and grown into one of the largest and leading institutions in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Harry pointed out that as at September 30 2013, the credit union’s full assets were approximately EC$166 million, with membership at the same date being about 38,000 members.

“We have performed well over the past 50 years, amidst the many challenges we all have to deal with, but it was not easy. We must be thankful to almighty God for blessing GECCU with a hard working management, and volunteers who have stuck to the task over the years and never lost sight of the principles and philosophies of the cooperative movement.

“As we celebrate proudly our past, we must never become complacent or forget the reason why we exist… in the interest of our members, our members matters most.”

Harry also pointed out that the future of the organization is bright, and encouraged the members and public to look forward to the new and exciting things that would be unfolding soon.

These include the construction of a new and modern office complex, and the opening of two new branches in Troumaca and South Rivers, and said that there were a number of individuals and groups to thank for the growth of the organization.

“Our founding fathers and pioneers who have set the course and laid the charter for us. The FSA, the registrar and staff of the cooperative department, the (credit union) league, various agencies and government departments for the unwavering support and guidance over the years, our auditors for their hard work and again the staff and the volunteers and last but not least, our thousands of members who are loyal and committed without which we would not achieve.”

One of two surviving founding members, Charles Murray Fraser, was given the benefit of declaring the celebratory activities open, which he did in fine style.

The other living member is Beryl Baptiste.

Giving some historical background, Fraser pointed out that the union got started in 1964 with 12 members, and was geared at facilitating civil servants only.

“At a later date, membership was extended to civil servants families and it was then from there the credit union moved up.

“And I am happy to see the stage it is at right now….”

The celebrations are being held under the theme “Proud of the past, prepared for the future.”(JJ)

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