Message from Hally Haynes, President of the Barbados Co-operative & Credit Union League to celebrate International Co-operatives Day 2022 – July 2, 2022.
This theme is a most appropriate archetype of what the Co-operative movement represents, as we in Barbados join our counterparts around the world to celebrate International Co-operatives Day on Saturday July 2.
The day is one that the United Nations has recognised and affirmed for over a decade because of the immense contribution of the sector. It is also a period during which we honour the critical role of “human-centred” business models that encourage self-help and promote active engagement in the economic development of our country.
Equally important, the day draws attention to the commitment of Co-operatives to having a much larger portion of our population take part and benefit from the wealth that is generated in Barbados.
Our history of colonialism, plantocracy, and landlessness has meant that our foreparents relied on the proven benefits of forming alliances to make for a bigger impact in a business environment that was largely exclusionary to them.
Some of our early Co-operative activity was, ironically, among peasant cane growers who sought to find their place among established, large plantation owners, who drew on their status and connections.
On May 09, 1952, the first society to be registered under the Co-operative Societies Act was St. Barnabas Co-operative Marketing Society Limited. Savings Societies and to a lesser extent, Consumer Co-operatives generated much interest.
Today, several registered Co-operatives operate in various sectors. These include sports co-ops, junior co-ops at various schools, investment co-operatives, consumer co-ops, taxi co-ops, several agricultural-based co-ops, financial co-ops and more recently, we have seen the emergence of renewable energy co-ops, forging their way in the burgeoning renewable energy sector.
What does all this mean for the movement? It suggests that despite contentions to the contrary, Barbadians value the Co-operative vehicle and are leveraging the many advantages of pooling their resources to achieve desired outcomes.
The landscape is evolving with significant improvements over the last seven decades but the fight for greater economic participation continues. I, as your president, and the Board of Directors of the Barbados Co-operative & Credit Union League (BCCUL) will continue to promote the ideals of the movement as we seek to further the democratisation of several aspects of our economy.
We believe that through cooperation, the opportunities for greater economic enfranchisement are enhanced.
The BCCUL also endorses the United Nations call for Co-operatives around the world to celebrate how the human-centred business model, inspired by the Co-operative values of self-help, self responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity and the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others, are building a better world.
In many different sectors of our economy, Co-operatives have proven themselves resilient to several crise. The last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic have demonstrated this to be true.
As Co-operatives, we foster economic participation, fight against environmental degradation and climate change, generate good jobs, contribute to food security, keep financial capital within our communities, build ethical value chains, and, by improving people’s material conditions and security, Co-operatives contribute to a much better state of existence in our country.
The entire Board of the Barbados Co-operative and Credit Union League wishes all Co-operatives in the island continued success on this International Day of Co-operatives.