Every year members of credit unions
worldwide set aside a week to commemorate the positive difference that
co-operatives make in the lives of people.
This year, October 14th – 20th
is being celebrated as International Credit Union Week, under the theme, “Co-operation
…. The Power of Many to Change the World.” The main focus of the week
will be featured on Thursday October 18, International Credit Union Day.
Here in St.
Lucia we can celebrate with pride knowing that the Credit Union Movement is well
rooted in the way of life of our people. Many
St. Lucians have included Credit Unions as their provider of financial services.
In fact, as at December 2000, Credit Unions had
a membership of more than 28,000 and assets in excess of
theme, “Co-operation…. The Power of Many to Change the World,” reminds
us of the impact of the synergy which can be created when people pool together.
The events of September 11 in the U.S. showed us how the collective
effort of a few has changed the world and it will take the power of co-operation
from the rest of the world to restore order and faith in the many systems which
govern our lives.
achieving that restoration we know that a multitude of challenges await us.
However, we also know that these same challenges will prove to be some of the
greatest opportunities to demonstrate the power of co-operation.
The Trade Union and Co-operative Movement are empirical examples of the
power of many acting together to achieve a common cause and as a result did
change the world.
760 million individuals worldwide continue to choose the advantage of
co-operation by being members of co-operatives.
They have demonstrated that the co-operative advantage extends beyond the
membership of the organization and indeed to the communities in which they
operate. In the developed world
co-operatives set industry standards by putting into practice their values and
ethics. In some countries, they are
seen as leaders in promoting food safety and security, in protecting the
environment and in providing decent employment.
Still in others, co-operatives are building peaceful societies by
promoting understanding and collaboration among persons of different cultural
and income background.
In our own
context, our farmers and fishermen, taxi drivers and mini-bus operators could
improve their livelihood by appreciating more fully the power of co-operation.
It is essential that we understand the benefits and strengths of people
coming together to meet specific needs in a collective manner.
Department of Co-operatives is implementing a programme aimed at improving the
ability of Fishermen Co-operatives to deliver quality services to their members.
For that programme to be successful, fishermen must be willing to allow
the co-operative to work on their behalf. Also,
members of the co-operative must carry out their function of membership with
commitment and dedication.
At the moment
there is renewed interest in the co-operative form of business from several
quarters. The challenges of the
market economy have marginalized many, and so the need to seek a form of
business that would provide leverage in the system.
Whereas co-operatives are self-help organizations, members need to
appreciate the fact that in order to be competitive and provide long-term
economic and social advantages, their organisations have to be efficient.
Efficient towards their members by delivering the envisaged services;
efficient institutionally by being economically viable and socially effective.
Co-operatives of all sorts must have the vision of becoming world class providers of goods and services. In today’s world of business, quality is one of the distinguishing factors for success. Quality enables a business to be competitive and stand out among the pack. The Credit Union Movement has over the years continued to experience growth and with that growth comes the complexities of remaining competitive. Then to continue to be competitive, the Movement must develop organizations that can offer world class quality financial services to its members.
continue to share their beliefs with millions of people around the globe.
They are also working towards
sharing the world’s wealth with those people.
As Credit Unions in St. Lucia continue to play their part in
accomplishing that goal, always bear in mind that you have Government’s full
I wish you success in the implementation of your programme of activities for this year. It is with distinct pleasure that I declare International Credit Union Week open. And remember: what we can’t do alone, we can do together.
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