A perspective on the condition of the cooperative

The decidedly low-key programme executed by the Government of Guyana to mark National Cooperatives Week did much, if indeed anything more needed to be done, to underscore the cataclysmic decline of the movement over the decades since the then People’s National Congress administration promulgated cooperatives as the third sector of a tri-sectoral Guyana economy.

That, as it turned out, was much more political objective a fait accompli. Up until now, the cooperative movement, its individual notable accomplishments, notwithstanding has simply not made anything remotely resembling an imposing footprint on the country’s economy. For a whole host of reasons it has proven to be insufficiently robust to be stacked up alongside the government and the private sector as pillars of the economy.

It seemed that the whole idea behind cooperatives was to generate a sense of entrepreneurial self-reliance in groups of people whose entrepreneurial ambitions were not matched by the requisite practical know-how. One of the accomplishments of the government of the day was the role it played in ‘pulling’ the various groups together (even though, in many instances, keeping them together and keeping them focused proved to be a much more challenging task) an initiative that served as a critical building block for what one might call the creation of a ‘cooperative culture.’….

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