Gov’t intervention urgently needed in Paradise co-op society

Dear Editor,

More than seven years after the Chief Co-operatives Development Officer (formerly styled Commissioner for Co-operatives Development) assumed control of the affairs of the Paradise Multi Purpose Cooperative Society (PMCS) and appointed an interim committee of management an annual general meeting was called on Sunday October 1, 2011.  Ninety persons attended that meeting where several issues were raised some of which I have addressed elsewhere with certain suggestions and so do not bear repeating at this point except to say that those persons in need of cooperative assistance have largely gone without due to the distance between the residents and the IMC members.

Members who were interviewed after the meeting spoke on condition of anonymity and expressed the view that they had gone expecting to hear that the affairs of the PCMS would be handed over to an elected body of officials since it was incomprehensible that after all this time no proper accounting was possible and that the Society was not on sound financial footing.  It was proposed that no more lands should be sold in the scheme, and that a notice be placed in the media for a period of three months requesting persons who had been allotted lands to come forward and express their continued interest in occupying the land.  However notwithstanding the general agreement on this issue there was some concern that unscrupulous persons could attempt to take advantage of the situation and resort to reselling lands as has allegedly been the widespread practice without members’ being aware.  Strangely enough the proposal to have an election of office bearers was ignored since “interim” is exactly what it means interim.

Editor there are in excess of 880 house lots spread over some 21 streets, and you would be amazed at the number of unoccupied lands, and abandoned unfinished properties in the Paradise Housing Scheme.  Ironically, the appointed body has been operating under a limited mandate with little or no reference to the objects of the PMCS.  For example no significant movement has been made over the years to “establish and maintain social, recreational and educational facilities in the community” or just as importantly “to encourage thrift and to provide a means by which members may make regular savings.”  I feel very strongly about this dereliction of duty; but even more than that there is no plot set aside for burial of human remains.  I for one do not expect to live forever, and I sure do not wish to have my family pulling their hair out wondering where to find a spot to bury me since I am not quite educated as to the value of cremation.

The burial ground at the Bachelor’s Adventure Public Road services Melanie Damishana, Bachelor’s Adventure, and Paradise village and is filled to its capacity.  Each of the following nearby areas has a dedicated burial site including Enterprise, Foulis, and Enmore.  Editor I am puzzled as to why permission to establish a housing scheme did not include that a request for advice or guidance to establish a burial site was not made.  I am suggesting that the area beyond 20 Street be dedicated to the establishment of a burial ground since there are sufficient lands there to satisfy that need.  The lands within the first twenty streets which are lying idle with no expressions of continued interest by their original allottees should be taken over by the Housing Ministry and reallocated to stop what appears to be Wild West land grabbing and double and triple selling of lands, and enforce the conditions where no individual can arbitrarily own/occupy more than one plot of land.

Government intervention is urgently needed to  bring order and provide remedy to residents who expect no less than consideration for the well-being of the community.  The old argument that the land is cooperative land is shot since the current management arrangement does not operate under cooperative principles.

Yours faithfully
Patrick E. Mentore

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