Co-op union spends $6M on salaries, meagre $114,000 on training – Min. Hamilton

The National Co-operative Union Limited (NCUL) under the authority of Derek Cummings spent more than $7 million in salaries and stipends, while only spending $114,000 on training.

This was made public by Labour Minister, Joseph Hamilton, during an interview with the Department of Public Information.

Lease agreement between the MoL and NCUL

The revelations were made following Cummings’ attempt to defend the claims made by Chairman of the International Decade for People of African Descent Assembly Guyana (IPADA-G) Vincent Alexander.

“I believe that Mr Derek Cummings is attempting to release the pressure that is on Vincent Alexander that cannot give a proper account of $100 million per year…and therefore he is injecting himself in this conversation,” the minister said.

Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton

Minister Hamilton noted that it was an uphill battle to get Cummings to submit the financial statements of the NCUL upon his assumption of office.

“He is right about hounding down. But not for the building or the keys. Hounding down had to do with him giving an account of the subvention that was made available to the National Union of $18 million in 2020, and when I became a minister in 2020, I wanted accountability,” he explained.

According to the financial report for 2020, NCUL expended salaries totalling some $6,371,463 while paying stipends amounting to $1,810,000. During the same period, however, the organisation expended a meagre $114,000 on training, despite spending more than half a million dollars on promotional materials and activities.

NCUL’s Income and Expenditure Statement for 2020

To this end, Minister Hamilton said that focus must be placed on these issues and questions answered concerning the spending of taxpayers’ money.

He said Cummings appears to be skirting responses to the relevant questions.

“This financial statement was transferred via someone to this office and at the same time, Mr Cummings resigned as chairman. So, the key questions to be answered are still unanswered. Is it a coincidence? You prepare a financial statement and when you have to represent it, you resign.”

Cummings’ letter followed a response made by the minister to Vincent Alexander, who accused him of forcefully taking away the facility from the Essequibo Regional Co-operative Union. The minister said that the building is being used by the Ministry of Labour under a lease agreement with NCUL.