BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, September 9, 2021 (MMS-SKN) — The Department of Cooperatives played a key role in the revitalisation of the Newtown Fishermen Cooperative Society Limited, and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Cooperatives and Environment, Ms Sharon Rattan, has pledged continued support for the society.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Cooperatives and Environment, Ms Sharon Rattan, delivering remarks. Seen at the head table are Ms Maritza Queeley, and Mr Glenroy Guishard.

“The cooperative, while the oldest, it was dormant for some time and the Registrar of Cooperatives and the Deputy Registrar played a key role in helping to get them back on track,” said Ms Rattan. “We were very happy at the Ministry and at the Department of Cooperatives to help you to come on your feet again.”

The Permanent Secretary made the remarks on Wednesday September 8 at a press conference held at the Department of Fisheries on Newtown Bay Road where members of the society’s new Executive Board and Supervisory Committee were inducted in the wake of the annual general meeting that had been held on Thursday September 2.

Accompanied by the Registrar of Cooperatives Mr Clyde Thompson, and the Deputy Registrar of Cooperatives Mrs Earla Allen, Ms Rattan said that they were happy at the Department of Cooperatives to have given the moral and financial support, and the encouragement, that has enabled the society to stand proudly.

“I want to thank you for recommitting and I want to ask you to rebrand, and not just to jump on the bandwagon of rebrand because it is a 21st century word,” she advised. “I mean truly rebrand, as we are living in a generation of possibilities.”

She promised that the Department of Cooperatives will be there to guide them in every way, telling them that they can call on the Department every time and she introduced Ms Tracy Ann Gaskin, the Cooperatives Officer assigned to the society, and who was present at the press conference.

“Please stay in touch,” appealed the Permanent Secretary. “You provide a very important source of proteins for our diets and we look forward to that continuous access and availability.”

Inducted members of the Executive Board were President, Mr Craig Tuckett; Vice President, Mr Antonio Huggins; Treasurer, Mr Frank Farrell; Executive Member who will also serve as the PRO, Mr Glenroy Guishard; and Secretary Mr Damion Jacobs.

Members of the Supervisory Committee inducted were Chairman, Mr Wycliffe John, and floor members Mr Andrew Clarke, and Mr Wilmoth Buchanan.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Marine Resources was represented by Ms Maritza Queeley, Head of Support Services Division, Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources, who gave remarks on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, Mr Ron Dublin Collins.

According to Ms Queeley, the Department of Marine Resources had supported the formation of the fisheries cooperative, and noted that it was a means by which fishers can pool their resources for the benefit of not just themselves individually, but for the community and the Federation as a whole.

With the revitalisation of the Newtown Fisherman Cooperative Society Limited, she pointed out that “it would give fishers in the Federation a greater opportunity to develop the fisheries product not just in catching fish and selling fish locally, but on a greater scale where product development and marketing will be encouraged and supported by this Department.”

Present at the induction press conference was the Area Parliamentary Representative for East Basseterre (St. Christopher One), the Hon Dr Geoffrey Hanley, who congratulated President Craig Tuckett and his entire team, and implored them to work together for the betterment of all of the fisher folks in the community.

Clockwise from top: Assistant Registrar of Cooperatives Mrs Earla Allen; Hon Dr Geoffrey Hanley, Ms Maritza Queeley, and Treasurer of the Newtown Fishermen Cooperative Society Limited, Mr Frank Farrell.  

“I stress – work together – noting that working as a team you are able to accomplish much more by doing that, and working as a team you certainly will be able to overcome the various challenges that you would be faced with,” said Dr Hanley.

In the meantime, the immediate past Area Parliamentary Representative for East Basseterre, Ambassador His Excellency Ian Patches Liburd, in a live telephone message said that today in an era of the Covid-19, when many people feel powerless to change their lives, cooperatives represent a strong, vibrant, and viable economic alternative that together a group of people can achieve goals that none of them could achieve individually.

“The Newtown Fishers Cooperative Society Limited will be expected to generate and provide an economic boost to the community as well and by extension to the entire country,” said His Excellency Liburd. “It is my further hope that your cooperative would be a democratic organisation controlled by its members, who should be allowed to actively participate in setting your policies and making your decisions.”