Credit Union and Trade Union Leaders join forces to increase their members’ share of Business Ownership in T&T

Chaguanas, Trinidad – January 31, 2019 – Both Credit Union and Trade Union Leaders agree that a major strategy to minimise the catastrophic impact of mass retrenchment is worker/member ownership of a significant part of the local Business Sector. These positions came out of the first Thought Leadership Breakfast meeting hosted by the Central Finance Facility (CFF) for 2019 on Tuesday January 25 at the Hyatt Regency.

The session, which was attended by Credit Union leaders across Trinidad and Tobago, featured prominent Economists, Trade Unionists and Politicians, who addressed the topic ‘New Beginning: Overcoming Economic Adversity in 2019: The Role of Credit Unions and Cooperatives’.

The breakfast meeting consisted of an expert panel comprising of UWI Senior Economist, Dr. Roger Hosein, Key Note Speaker, Management Consultant, Mr. Conrad Enil, Political Leader for MSJ, Mr. David Abdullah, Trade Unionist, Mr. John Julien, SME & Family Business Advisor, Mr. Sajjad Hamid and Credit Unionist, Mr. Marlon Charles; moderated by Former UWI Lecturer and Political Analyst, Dr. Winford James. The discussions were supported by credit union leaders who understood that an ecosystem must be developed in order to facilitate the revolution which the CFF intends on bringing about.

The event emanated from the CFF’s concern over the new challenges faced by the credit union membership resulting from the recent retrenchments by several national organizations. Understanding the grave and rippling effects of this economic crisis, the CFF has positioned itself to lead the charge in the development and implementation of a blueprint which will empower the membership to move from a mind-set of consumerism to that of wealth creation and ownership.

During the panel discussion, former Secretary General of the Communications Workers Union, Mr. John Julien advocated that in order to effect change “the solution is education”. Simultaneously, Mr. Julien said, there is a need for unity, without which there will be no success to the overall objectives. He added that credit union and trade union member are the same and cannot be disaggregated—one affects the other.

Mr. Julien highlighted the situation that recently retrenched female TSTT workers have found themselves in to meet their daily needs—having to drive UBER and other similar types of jobs which operate at frightful nightly hours. Mr Marlon Charles, Secretary of the CFF called for the development of an ecosystem to support entrepreneurship and ownership among members and called for trade union and credit union members to pursue ownership of a chain of megastores in Trinidad and Tobago.

MSJ Political Leader David Abdullah posed the question “what kind of society do we want to have?” In order for any real change to be made and affect the lives of individuals, Mr. Abdullah indicated that there must be a transformation of economic power in Trinidad and Tobago.

The first step has been made for collaboration among credit unions, cooperatives and trade unions in order to address the impact of these serious economic changes in the lives of our membership. The question is, as we aim for materialisation of this objective, will you join us?