General membership capable of resuming management of Paradise Multi Purpose Cooperative Society

Dear Editor,

I write to express serious concern over a situation which is developing in the Paradise Housing Scheme (PHS).  During the week ending October 8, 2011 I observed an earth moving machine digging the eastern half of the entrance to the housing scheme.  When I enquired of the lone man who was at the excavation site on Saturday, October 8 as to what was going to be done about the piles of earth he told me that he did not know what his boss man was doing with it.  I told him that the earth belonged to the scheme and its disposal was not for his boss man to decide, since – in my view, that earth could have been utilized to build up at least part of one of the low lying secondary roads.  All the while I was under the impression (as were others) that the “road works” were contracted with the full knowledge of the management committee which incidentally was appointed by the Chief Cooperatives Development Officer (CCDO) since 2003 under Section 56 (2) of the Cooperative Societies Regulations.  Furthermore the said excavation has destroyed a $250,000 culvert which had been constructed under the authority of the CCDO who also exercises oversight functions.

Editor, imagine my consternation on Monday October 10 when on my way home I noticed that the several mounds of earth had vanished having been transported during the time when most residents were away.  My enquiries led me to the Non Pariel seaside area now under construction where the earth from Paradise Housing Scheme had been taken.  Editor, please be assured that I would be among the last persons to advocate actions which that obviously provocative act inspires.

Furthermore there is no doubt in my mind that if the management committee (and I use that term loosely) was even the slightest bit responsive to the need for all-round cooperation of residents this situation would not have occurred.

In other words we would have known “what’s up” and could have acted to prevent being placed in a very bad position where the loam that the “contractor” placed in the ditch would very likely be washed away when the rains come since there are no shoulders to contain slippage.  I spoke with the CCDO who expressed ignorance that works had been undertaken at that location and that the earth was removed.

Residents were advised at the Annual General Meeting of the Paradise Multi Purpose Cooperative Society (PMCS) held on October 2, 2011 which incidentally is the first by the Society in living memory, that between 2004 and December 2010 some 15.4 million dollars were collected from the sale of house lots with a balance of 6.8 million dollars after expenditure.  Editor, to think that after so many years in existence and after being placed under the control of the CCDO we still do not have a fixed place to conduct the Society’s business cries out for a serious rethink of the way things are being done.

With the amount of money which has passed through the Society’s books one would have expected that there would have at least been an identified space where residents could conduct their business; one would have thought that at the very least there would be some manifestation of an improvement in the quality of life in the community.

Thrift is not promoted and members are not provided the means to make regular savings.  According to the management report the CCDO-imposed management committee operated under a limited mandate when compared to the objects and powers articulated in the Society’s Rules.

Editor, I refuse to believe that it is beyond the capacity of the residents of PHS to establish and maintain social, recreational and educational facilities in their community.  It is my sincere belief that we have citizens of quality who are willing to take things forward even with the input of those current administrators whose institutional memory would be invaluable.

I am inclined to the view that the CCDO is not unwilling to give back the management of the Society to its general membership, because to believe otherwise would be an indictment of the incumbent team’s performance under the stewardship of the CCDO himself.

Yours faithfully
Patrick E Mentore