By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Cabinet has announced its attention to aggressively pursue the dissolution of defunct Cooperatives and Friendly Societies; citing the increased unauthorized and illegal disposal of assets.
According to Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon, there is no lack of statutory requirements and process to carry out the function which comes as a recommendation from the Labour Sub Committee which has been endorsed by the administration.
He explained that the administration will be selling all assets, paying off creditors, distributing any remaining assets to the principals or parent company, and then dissolving the entities.
“The sector is now troubled and it has to do with defunct and near defunct entities,” the cabinet Secretary told reporters; adding that “we will be moving to aggressively enforce the provisions in the Act.”
He said it was observed that the disposal of assets which is mainly land is increasingly being done outside of means prescribed in law.
“Cabinet had developed a dim view of the practice,” Dr. Luncheon said.
In late 2013, Labour Minister Dr. Nanda Gopaul had announced that his Ministry was working to revamp some cooperatives, but had promised that those which cannot be redeemed, which amount to over 200, will be struck off roll.
He explained that some of the co-ops had outlived their usefulness. Approximately 1000 Co-ops are registered under the Cooperative Societies Act, but a large number of them are dysfunctional or on the brink of collapse, owing to financial difficulties.
Some Co-ops have not held elections for an extensive period, creating a series of problems such as poor financial records.
The cooperative movement owns in excess of $15 billion in assets. When considered against other financial institutions, it is the fourth or fifth largest financial system in the country.
Meanwhile, there are many highly successful co-operatives in operation. These include some in the rice and the sugar industries as well as the credit unions, particularly those of the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana Defencem Force (GDF), the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) and the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU).