Co-ops need accountability, transparency to receive Gov’t assistance
– Min. Hamilton
Minister of Labour, Hon. Joseph Hamilton has said co-operative societies (Co-ops) require accountability and transparency to receive funds from the Government.
During an exclusive interview with DPI on Tuesday, Minister Hamilton said persons who use Co-ops as their personal ‘cash cow’ present an ongoing problem.
“One of the important rules in forming a Co-op is that you have to audit your accounts every year. I will not sign off on any intervention financially for any Co-op, wherever they are, to receive Government funds if they don’t pay attention to accountability and transparency.”
The Minister said Co-ops are an important mechanism for community and personal development.
“A Co-op is a community vehicle of 10 or more persons coming together, pooling their talent and resources for the empowerment of a community and people,” the Minister explained.
He has guaranteed that Co-ops formed and operating within the law can expect the Ministry’s full support in training for accounting and marketing to ensure their success. However, those that reflect a “family affair” instead of community empowerment will not be funded.
In keeping with the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act 2009, the Minister emphasised the importance of understanding the difference between a Co-op and a Friendly Society.
“A Friendly Society is a benevolent society that is there for charitable work. Once you start to discuss financing and profit-making, that is not a Friendly society; it’s a Co-op.”
The Co-op movement was officially established locally in 1948.