The current team led by Mr. Benn has done a terrific job at checkout

Dear Editor,

I have taken a keen interest in the imbroglio regarding the Guyana civil service credit union, and I would appreciate it if you had enough space in your article to comment on it.

The former Management Committee was removed from the Guyana Public Service Cooperative Credit Union (the Credit Union) in May 2018. It was replaced by an Interim Management Committee (IMC) headed by Mr. Trevor Benn.

The factual and legal basis for the intervention of the director of cooperative development (CCDO) in the affairs of the Caisse populaire in 2018 was as follows:

1. the management committee has not held an annual general meeting (AGM) since 2013;

2. the management committee has not paid any member dividends since 2011;

3. the Management Committee has not paid the contributions to the Audit and Monitoring Fund;

4. no external audit of the Caisse populaire has been carried out since 2013; and

5. General poor management of the credit union.

However, since the advent of the IMC and the recent election of a new management committee, all of the above has been rectified and the credit union has followed an upward trajectory in all areas of activity. Please note the following:

1. A general meeting was held on April 11, 2021;

2. More than 280 million Guinean dollars in intermediate and final dividends have been paid to members;

3. The Caisse populaire contributed over $100 million to the Audit and Monitoring Fund;

4. The Caisse Populaire audit is up-to-date, with the 2021 audit currently in progress;

5. The audit for the period from 2013 to 2017 revealed more than 100 million dollars missing from the coffers of the Caisse populaire;

6. Total Credit Union membership has grown exponentially, at a rate of over 300 new members per month;

7. The Caisse populaire launched three (3) new loan products:

• Mortgages – up to $15 million

• Vehicle loan – up to $5 million

• Education loan – up to $5 million

8. Members can borrow up to $15 million, previously the limit was $1 million;

9. The Credit Union’s Hadfield Street office has been transformed into a modern facility to enable members to conduct their business in relative comfort;

10. Land has been purchased for the construction of a new larger office complex to meet the needs of members, such as a medical clinic, pharmacy, dental clinic and supermarket, etc. ;

11. Salaries of employees have been raised to a living wage and their conditions of employment have improved through the introduction of a medical scheme and a pension scheme;

12. The first collective labor agreement signed with the CCWU since the 1990s; and

13. The renovation of Hadfield Street Avenue for the relaxation and enjoyment of members.

Plans that are also in preparation:

1. The introduction of ATMs so that members can access their funds at any time;

2. The introduction of a mobile application to allow members to consult their accounts online; and

3. The construction of sub-offices in regions # 3, 6 and 10.

Therefore, it is clear that the current problem facing the Caisse populaire is an internal problem, among the members of the management committee; a fight for the hearts of members, to determine who they want to run their credit union.

This is not an operational issue that affects the progress and work of Credit Union, but simply a political issue. Therefore, there is no factual or legal basis for the intervention of the director of cooperative development to consider the installation of an IMC.

The members have already spoken out by means of a petition, signed by more than the number of people required by law, which mandates a special general meeting to settle the question.

What the CCDO can do is use its good offices to ensure that such a meeting, as required by Regulation 16 of the Cooperative Corporations Regulation, c. 88:01 and Members, is held to the satisfaction of Members. Failing this, the Court may be asked to ensure that the wishes of the members are respected.

The current team led by Mr. Benn has done a tremendous job at Credit Union in just under four (4) years, growing the organization to the point of rivaling any of the smaller commercial banks.

It is right and proper that the team be allowed to function and execute its vision. Even the Honorable Ministers of Labor and Tourism acknowledged the performance of the management team in their respective remarks at recent Credit Union events.

Sincerely

Joshua Luke

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