PM Douglas says Federation’s credit unions working with SIDF to benefit their members

Basseterre, St. Kitts – (August 26, 2013) — Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Right Hon Dr Denzil Douglas, has outlined the important role being played by the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) in changing people’s lives, and has lauded the country’s credit unions for partnering with the SIDF for the benefit of their members and the nation.

“The Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation was established to ensure that the development options open to the people of this country would be both more thrust and readily obtainable than at any time in our Nation’s history,” said Dr Douglas on Thursday August 22, when he delivered feature remarks at the opening ceremony of the 11th Annual OECS Credit Union Summit at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort.

“We thought that this was an important mechanism to be introduced to our Federation, because as a result of the 400 years history of the Caribbean far too many ordinary people have faced very real challenges overcoming the intergenerational lack of capital that are the clear and indisputable consequence of slavery and colonialism of our past,” observed the Prime Minister.

He however pointed out that through the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation, St. Kitts and Nevis is correcting this particular imbalance by extending important opportunities for training, opportunities for new and previously unimaginable access to capital by the people.

“And I wish to note here that the Nation’s credit unions have been very active in participating in the SIDF to the benefit of both their members and our country as a whole,” said Dr Douglas who was applauded by delegates from the seven countries attending the summit.

The 11th Annual OECS Credit Union Summit, which was hosted by the St. Kitts and Nevis National Co-operative League, was held under the theme ‘Innovation – Co-operation – Integration: Strategies for a Successful Co-operative Movement’. Delegates were drawn from Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and host St. Kitts and Nevis.

The Prime Minister praised the co-operators for the theme they had chosen, adding: “The second part of your theme, ‘Strategies for a Successful Co-operative Movement’; it captures perfectly what the ever evolving and ever expanding cooperative movement within the Eastern Caribbean has been about all these years.

“As the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and as a member of the St. Kitts Cooperative Credit Union I emphasise that I am well positioned to assess the contribution of the various players within our country and our region’s financial industry, and I would like to make a point at this time, of noting the very positive contributions that our region’s credit unions have been making to the vibrancy of the regional economy and what a positive presence the St. Kitts and Nevis National Cooperative League represents within the country’s credit unions sector.”

He told the delegates that if they were to look at the social and economic realities in St. Kitts and Nevis for example, and also to look at some of the nationwide initiatives which were specially designed to advance the socioeconomic interest of the people, “we do see a very clear and positive presence by the Nation’s credit unions.”

The ceremony was attended by the Governor General His Excellency Sir Edmund Lawrence and was chaired by Mr Jervan Swanston, Secretary of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Cooperative League. It was also addressed by Mr Andy Liburd, President of the St. Kitts and Nevis National League; Mr Aaron Moses, President of the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions; and the Hon Vance Amory, Premier of Nevis.

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