TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS GOVERNMENT ATTENDS THE 2020 VIRTUAL ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE WORLD COUNCIL OF CREDIT UNIONS
The Turks and Caicos Islands Government joined the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) in January 2020. The organization held its 2020 Annual General Meeting via webinar on Monday, July 20, 2020 which was attended by the Hon. Premier Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, Mrs. Athenee Harvey-Basden, Permanent Secretary and Mrs. Shonia D. Thomas-Been, Deputy Permanent Secretary, in the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Investment. There were over 90 delegates in attendance; one of the largest conferences ever.
The Hon. Premier in speaking as a new associate member of the WOCCU, expressed her gratitude to the WOCCU for accepting the TCIG’s request to join; making it the first Government Associate Member in the organization’s 49-year history. The Hon. Premier emphasized her intentions to utilize all the privileges that membership would bring, whilst too, offering support to furthering objectives of the movement around the world.
As an associate member of the WOCCU the Turks and Caicos Islands Government will benefit from a network of 85,400 institutions in over 118 countries that use credit unions (co-operatives) as a global focus to foster financial inclusion toward the improvement of lives and the financial wellbeing of members.
A delegation from the echelons of the WOCCU was scheduled to travel to the Turks and Caicos Islands in March 2020 to conduct stakeholder consultations, and to assist the TCI (Government and Private Sector) in conceptualizing the blueprint for co-operative saving and lending in the country. This, following the recent passage of legislation and prudential standards that will govern credit unions in the territory. Meetings were postponed owing to the impending effects of COVID-19 on world travel, the imposition of number controlled gatherings and social distancing requirements.
The Appropriations Bill of Financial Year 2020/2021, passed in the House of Assembly in April 2020 included an injection of $250K as seed funding for the inception of the Civil Service Credit Union. The TCIG is committed to ensuring that the service gap pertaining to access to finance faced by the unbanked and under-banked in the TCI is filled as access to credit is a main determinant of success in small business development as well as personal finance. The TCIG undoubtedly sees credit unions as an integral part of the solution.
The co-operative movement has long been considered as having a primary goal of addressing the common needs of its membership through enterprises that are jointly owned and democratically managed such as credit unions. The movement continues to see remarkable growth.
World Council of Credit Unions articulates its key role as building, championing, defending and growing the global credit union community by advocating for its members, and by providing education, training and technical assistance to advance financial cooperatives worldwide. The movement thrives on the credit union values of “cooperation” and “people helping people”.
The 2020 World Credit Union Conference which was to be held in Los Angeles, California was canceled this year amidst COVID-19 related concerns. However, the 2021 World Credit Union Conference is scheduled to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, July 11-14, 2021, circumstances permitting; and will be co-hosted with Association of British Credit Unions Limited (ABCUL).