Minister for Cooperatives Emma Hippolyte has praised the role of cooperatives in Saint Lucia’s economic, social and cultural development.
But Hippolyte also acknowledged the sector’s challenges, especially those affecting small and rural cooperatives.
She said the government has pledged to further strengthen and reposition the cooperatives sector to enhance its efficiency and maximise members’ benefits.
In this regard, Hippolyte noted that the Cooperative Societies Act and Cooperative Societies regulations have been under review as far back as 2008.
And she disclosed that the government is committed to finalising the legislation.
The aim is to improve governance, and accountability and achieve effective management, while protecting members’ investment.
“The finalisation of the legislation is a priority for my government,” Hippolyte declared in a message Saturday to mark International Day Of Cooperatives.
The Minister revealed that final consultations on the Cooperative Societies Bill and regulations with the various sectors are taking place.
She indicated the legislation would be before parliament ‘in the next few months’.
In addition, Hipployte said the Ministry of Agriculture and her Ministry had engaged fishers’ cooperatives to determine factors hindering their progress.
She announced the establishment of a technical committee to address those issues and modernise the operations of the fishers’ cooperatives.
Hippolyte disclosed plans for a similar approach for farmers’ cooperatives.
“We will leave no stone unturned in boosting the capacity and efficiency of our fisher and farmer cooperatives as they play a vital role in our Island’s food security,” the Soufriere MP stated.