President of the Barbados Co-Operative and Credit Union League (BCCUL) Hally Haynes. (FILE)
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The Barbados Co-Operative & Credit Union League (BCCUL) has become the newest member of the island’s Social Partnership, joining other important sectors such as labour unions, the business community, and Government, who all work together to steady the Barbados economy and social landscape.
In a statement issued following his return to leadership of the League at its 2019 annual general meeting at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, President Hally Haynes said the BCCUL’s inclusion in the Social Partnership was a singular achievement.
He further described it as an acknowledgement of the impact of credit unions and their more than 200 000-strong membership on Barbados’ financial landscape.
“I believe the Government has recognised that there has to be a space for the credit union sector and having us as part of the Social Partnership is a critical intervention strategy by the Government,” Haynes noted.
The BCCUL president identified some priority areas for the movement. Among the early discussion points will be imminent changes to the CarIFS debit switch, as well as a more proactive role by cooperatives in the local productive sectors.
Caribbean Integrated Financial Services Inc. (CarIFS) is a network provider that allows customers of various financial institutions to have 24-hour access to cash from their bank and some credit union accounts, via automatic banking machines, and make payments via point-of-sale terminals.
“The first priority is the [planned] repurposing of CarIFS. It essentially has the capacity to compromise 10 years of credit union growth. We have over 100 000 credit union members who enjoy the 3 000 point-of-sale machines across the island. If CarIFS is repurposed, then we will not have access to that network in the way it currently operates.
“It means that we would have to use the international VISA card in order to have access and that is going to cause some strain on the island’s foreign reserves because it will result in foreign exchange leaving this country. That is one of the urgent matters that we need to address at the level of the Social Partnership,” he added
Haynes also paid tribute to the efforts of trade unionist Cedric Murrell for his years of lobbying for the movement’s inclusion. The League has already attended one meeting of the Social Partnership, at which Haynes said the movement’s representatives were warmly welcomed by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mia Mottley. (PR)