Chief Cooperatives and Community Development Officer Kareem Abdul Jabar has told Stabroek Business that he intends to proceed with an exercise aimed at regularizing the operations of the Guyana Defence Force Credit Union following a letter sent to him by registered members expressing concern over the functioning of the credit union.
Speaking with Stabroek Business by telephone on Tuesday, Jabar confirmed that he had been in receipt of the communication and that he intended to move within a week to convene a meeting with members to ascertain the problems and to attempt to have them resolved.
This newspaper has been reliably informed that the GDF credit union, one of the largest of 24 such organizations registered with the Guyana Coopera-tive Credit Union League (GCCUL) has been experiencing difficulties associated with what a league source described as “serious operational problems.” The source said these problems were no secret and that previous requests had been made for remedial intervention.
Asked to provide details of the “operational” problems the source said that it appeared that the problems stemmed from the fact that while the credit union is an independent organisation it found it difficult to escape the jurisdiction of the military.
The letter to Jabar cites the fact the GDF Credit Union has not held an annual general meeting since 2009 claiming as well that its legitimate management committee “has been suspended by the force” without either a special general meeting being convened or without the members of that committee being declared unfit under regulation 56 of the Cooperative Societies Regulations made under Section 51 of the Cooperative Societies Act Chapter 88:01.
Jabar’s announcement that he would be engaging the GDF Credit Union comes in the wake of a media release issued by the GCCUL and signed by its Public Relations Officer, Derrick Cummings, which alluded to unspecified “ominous developments” taking place within the GDFCU and calling on Jabar to use the authority vested in him “to ensure that all regulatory and governance issues are speedily resolved in the interest of the membership”.
Stabroek Business has learnt through its investigations that the GDFCU’s current Secretary/Manager Major Hubert Rodney performs his duties at the pleasure of the force and that some members are uneasy with the status quo. Several unsuccessful attempts were made to reach Major Rodney for comment.
When Stabroek Business spoke with Jabar he said that his first initiative would be to convene a special general meeting of the GDFCU though he acknowledged that the fact that members were also serving in a disciplined organisation meant that he would have to proceed with caution. Asked whether he was insinuating that he might experience difficulties in proceeding with the planned investigation Jabar said that he intended to apply credit union rules.
He said that at a recent meeting between local credit union officials and President Donald Ramotar the assurance had been given that the President’s support and cooperation could be relied on in the execution of duties associated with the running of the cooperative movement.