ADDRESS BY HON. EUGENE HAMILTON, MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE AND COOPERATIVES, FOR CO-OP WEEK OF ACTIVITIES 2019

It is with great pride that I support the Department of Co-operatives in its efforts to execute a series of activities in celebration of the 2019 international day of co-operatives.

The theme for 2019 as guided by the International Co-operative Alliance, is, “COOPS 4 DECENT WORK”. 

This theme is very appropriate as it reflects the reason for establishing co-operatives in the first place: which is to help members, thereby ensuring human dignity.

The adult human population seeks employment to generate income for self and family sustenance. So how does Co-operatives feature in generating income for individuals and family sustenance?

The answer can be found in all of history but if we look back the co-operatives principals established in the nineteenth century to guide the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers in Lancashire, England: and we also look at the work of  Franz Hermann Schulze Delitzch who started the first credit union in Germany in 1850; we will observe that in each of these cases, the vulnerable people were experiencing economic hardships, but gained relief as a result of their work in establishing co-operative societies.

Whether it is a producer co-operative or a credit union, members are required to provide self help to grow their organization, hence decent work is required; Honesty is required; and integrity must be applied from the board of directors down to the floor members.

One of the more recent declarations on decent work and sexual harassment, made by the International Co-operative Alliance, which is the global voice of the co-operative movement; is instructive as we celebrate this week

The declaration reaffirms

  1. “upholding the Statement on Cooperative Identity, which sets out the values and principles that define co-operatives and,
  2. “prohibits within its sphere of influence all sexual harassment, including unwelcome sexual advances or conduct of a sexual nature that is intimidating, hostile or offensive.
The co-operative movement worldwide identifies with that declaration and also embraces the agenda for Sustainable Development 2030 vision of the world; and so too does the Department of Co-operatives here in our Federation.

Taking our local perspective into consideration, co-operatives in St. Kitts Nevis area required to ensure decent work for members to be properly served and receive benefits.

Our hard working farmers, who are members of local farmers’ co-operatives, work hard on their respective farms to produce food for local consumption.

They work mostly from sunrise to sunset, performing decent work and so deserve a market with fair prices for their goods.

Our agro-processing co-operatives produce wine, chips, green season, and sauces through decent work and also deserve a market of fair prices for their goods.

Our credit unions provide financial services for individual members and other co-operatives; and are known to provide decent employment for members as they work in comfortable conditions and in a healthy environment of which we can all be proud.

We have much to celebrate as a country that promotes local co-operative movements.

Much has been achieved with support from the Department of Co-operatives and I take this opportunity to commend and congratulate them for coordinating a third annual programme of activities in celebration of international co-operatives day

The week of activities commencing on Sunday June 23rd, culminates on Saturday July 6st which is the day celebrated internationally as “International Co-operatives Day”. It is described as a week but spans over two weeks

I take this opportunity to announce the programme of events and activities, and encourage all members of co-operatives and the general public to participate and support our local co-operatives.

On Sunday 23rd June at 9.30 am, members of the local co-operative movement will worship at Antioch Baptist Church, Lime Kiln.

On Monday 24th June at 1.30 pm representatives will be on Freedom FM Radio Issues programme.

On Wednesday 26th June from 9.00 am will be the first sorrel festival on the Frigate Bay Road between Newtown play field and TDC. This is a must attend or forever miss event

On Thursday 27th June from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm on the Frigate Bay Road between the Newtown Play field and TDC, the Agro-Strip local vegetables, fruits, processed goods, meat, are all available.

On Saturday 29th June from 9.00 am will be a second sorrel festival on the Frigate Bay Road.

On Tuesday 2nd July various primary schools will benefit from discussions with practitioners in co-operatives

On Thursday 4th July from 4.30 pm will be an awards dinner and ceremony at NEMA conference room.

On Saturday 6th July which is international co-operative day the I will deliver the international co-operative day message on ZIZ Radio and Television.

Later that same day from 4.00 pm will be the annual ceremony celebrating the reopening of the Sandy Point Public Market by the Sandy Point Agricultural Co-operative Society Ltd. This event will be at the Sandy Point Public Market.

I encourage all co-operative societies to get involved to make this year’s celebration a memorable and rewarding experience and I hereby declare the 2019 programme of activities in celebration of international co-operatives day officially opened.

 

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