Baracara aims at Co-operativism to develop community – special visit from Minister

The Government’s efforts to revitalise co-operatives as the third pillar of economic development continues to see the establishment of more Co-operatives across the country.

Minister Keith Scott recently visited the community of Baracara, a sixty-five-mile journey into the Berbice River. The community’s advantage is its rich soil and virgin lands, which produces excellent yields of fruits and vegetables. However, the topography of Baracara and the necessity of expensive travel by boat to access the community, has proved as a disadvantage in acquiring markets for the produce of the farmers living there; added to this is the lack of capital to develop their agricultural business ventures.

Minister Keith Scott along with Ms. Gifth (r) and Ms. Burgett (l).

The community has now seen a viable solution in the development of co-operative societies.

Minister with responsibility for Co-operatives and Labour, Honourable- Keith Scott paid a special visit to the community, along with a high level team including: Chief Co-operatives Development Officer – Ms. Perlina Gifth, Mr. Derrick Cummings – Chairman of the Guyana National Credit Union Limited (GNCUL), Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Telecommunications and Ms. Burgette Adams – Manager of GNCUL.

Minister Scott explained to the community that the Government is ready to give technical assistance in not only developing a Co-operative society but also in the area of processing, to add value to their products on the market. He told those gathered:

“A part of why you are organising is because you want to take your family away from the level of being primary producers to add value to your products. A lot of people fight for land and you’re lucky that you have it, so it is important that you get together and ensure that what you have, gives you the maximum returns”

The Minister explained however that because of the pressures of money laundering, strict measures of compliance for co-operative societies have been put in place, measures he cautioned the group to adhere to in its entirety in order to avoid any sanctions that could slow down the progress of their society.

Residents of Baracara listen attentively during the Ministerial Outreach.

Added to co-operatives, is the possibility of getting the community an ICT hub. Mr. Derrick Cummings, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Telecommunications, told the residents that it is something he is currently looking into.

As a result, Mr. Travis Spelling, a representative of the National Data Management Authority, met with the residents to access the conditions and explore possibilities.

Community Development Council (CDC) member and chairman of the logging association of Baracara, Mr. Burnell Amsterdam, explained that the community faces many challenges and residents are appreciative of the intervention of the Government.

The Ministry of Social Protection has been pioneering the revitalisation of Co-operatives and has since revitalised several societies in the regions.

An effective part of the programme is its integration with the Sustainable Livelihood Development project.

The SLED project is an avenue to assist community groups in creating profitable start-up businesses. The SLED department, which also falls under the purview of the Ministry of Social Protection, has since provided micro-financing assistance to over 20 Co-operative groups across the country in 2017 and have since been receiving proposals for 2018 projects.