IMC to manage West Demerara Market Co-op Society
Following reports of funds being mismanaged, an Interim Management Committee (IMC) has been put in place to manage the West Demerara Market Co-operative Society Limited.
This is under the Cooperative Society Act, Chapter 88:01, which permits the Chief Co-operative Development Officer (CCDO) to take over any cooperative, friendly society or credit union, which in the CCDO’s opinion, is being mismanaged or non-transparent.
Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton, M.P, told DPI that his ministry took action after members of the society petitioned for government’s intervention to properly manage its operations. This petition, he stated, described the mismanagement of funds, non-hosting of the Annual General Meeting (AGM), no dividends given to members, as well as the lack of audited financial statements.
In light of this, the IMC, comprising five members, is now responsible for the co-op and its functions for six to 12 months.
“We will hope that this IMC will regularise the situation to bring them to a place where they can have an annual general meeting to elect new officers, and some stipulations like the audit and the membership register must be brought up to date,” the labour minister said.
The need for regular updates of the membership register, Minister Hamilton said, is to recognise the legitimate club members as opposed to ‘phantom members’ seeking an opportunity to gain position.
“Legitimacy means that you have paid your subscription up to date that allows you to participate. With each year, that allows you to participate in elections, and to also be elected to the Management Committee.”
The Minister stressed that any elected management committee is not above any co-op members, as they have equal rights and shares within their respective society. As such, it must operate within the interest of its members.
Minister Hamilton reiterated that while government does not wish to manage any co-op, friendly societies or credit unions, these entities must be accountable and their operations be transparent. If they fail to do so, the CCDO will not hesitate to implement Chapter 88:01 to secure the members’ welfare.