Co-operative societies have the capacity to be effective game changers

Dear Editor,

The Stabroek News of July 5th, 2018 published a letter attributed to Roshan Khan Snr. Under the caption: `Cooperatives won’t work for laid-off sugar workers’ which can be described as both enlightening and misleading in different respects.

It is enlightening in the sense that it directed attention to the fact that the co-operative initiative preceded our nation’s thrust for economic and political independence, and once they are well organized and managed, co-operative societies can yield significant benefits to society.

Secondly, the author is correct in his submission that Government is trying to revive the co-operative spirit of the 1960’s and 1970’s upon which much hope for economic and national development was founded.

Further, it is true that while several societies from the 1960’s and 1970’s are prosperous and are still surviving, others have collapsed for a multiplicity of reasons including theft, selfishness, greed, corruption and as he puts it a “propensity for fraud”.

For highlighting these truisms, brother Khan is to be commended and at the same time advised to be more careful and cautious in his criticisms and condemnations of the current initiatives in promoting a rebirth of the co-operative spirit which exhibits aspects of nobility in its own right.

The current administration is quite cognizant of the pitfalls of the past and has certainly learnt from those mistakes which are not likely to be repeated.

Mr. Roshan Khan from his utterances seems to be a distant disciple of the Honourable Keith Scott who is leading the charge in the renaissance of the co-operative movement and should have therefore taken time to seek an audience with him and carefully research the matter before making certain assertions which are not well founded.

For example, what empirical evidence does he possess that laid-off sugar workers are facing abject, poverty and starvation? What evidence does he possess that Co-operative Societies would fail again?

Has he taken account of the plans and programme to retool, re-orient, re-socialize and realign the laid-off and current sugar workers?

Since Mr. Khan respects and admires Minister Scott, he ought to have known that laid-off sugar workers are not the only ones whom he has been encouraging to become engaged in co-operatives societies. He has similarly encouraged all graduating apprentices and other personnel in the job market to do so.

Be that as it may, it must be recognised that not because societies have failed in the past, they cannot succeed in the future.

From his submissions one is able to adduce that the pitfalls of Guysuco are no different from those which were encountered by what can be classified as the Black Bush Polder Co-operative Experiment. They were both all affected by corruption which was facilitated, at the time, through Private Sector Interests.

In Guysuco’s case, the corporation also suffered from what one of its chairmen referred to as internal haemorrhage or theft from within by those who were within.

Never-the-less, the new dispensation for the management of co-operative societies require the application and observation of Checks and Balances such as due diligence for their leaders so that the propensity for mischiefs of all kinds can be minimized and eliminated.

It is not all gloom and doom as Mr. Khan infers. He quite rightly pointed out that the intended upshot of the Black Bush Polder experiment was integration amongst Guyanese which is now called Social Cohesion being pursued by the current administration. Therefore, his question about the usefulness of co-operative societies at this juncture of our development, is to be dispatched with haste, and replaced with a submission that they have the capacities to be effective game changers in our social and economic superstructures, facilitating, National Development, Economic Development and ultimately Human Development.

However, reiteration of commendations for Mr. Khan as a social commentator, social analyst and businessman within the realm of the private security industry.

From his submission on the subject under focus and those on the restructuring of the private security industry he made on a previous occasion it is evident that Mr. Khan can make a more meaningful input as a game changer himself.

After all our women who participate in the labour market particularly those who are the main bread winners of their family units and who work at nights need all the help and support they can get.  

Yours faithfully,

Kenava Elious

for Ministry of Social Protection

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