Employment is finite and the expansion of cooperative movements is one of the areas which is crucial to the mitigation of unemployment. This is according to Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, Keith Scott, who continues to encourage communities and groups to form co-op movements.

Minister Scott explained that the co-op movement can absorb thousands of people, including young people. He added that call centres including Qualfon and Teleperformance, mining companies, government agencies, or other private sector companies cannot employ the thousands of people leaving schools or the university every year. Therefore, co-ops play an integral role in creating employment for the growing population.

“Jobs can only be created with new industries and industrial growth. Guyana is on the cusp of economic wealth and so hundreds of contractors and business owners are asking to come into the country and do business. Even though there is the perception that young people cannot get jobs, we know that we have these processes that are on stream. But in the interim, we have been encouraging the co-op movement to expand because each co-op group creates employment. We are encouraging communities and even the school thrift societies to get on board,” Minister Scott explained.

According to Minister Scott, the farmers’ co-op at Baracara on the Berbice River is thriving and has seen many persons, including young people, gain employment. Currently, through the Board of Industrial Training (BIT), residents in Baracara are learning boat building techniques so that they can build boats to better market their produce. The marketing will be done through a marketing co-op, Minister Scott noted.

In an effort to revitalise co-ops as the third pillar of economic development, the government has been supporting the development of co-operatives and the Ministry of Social Protection has been pioneering this revival and has since revitalised several societies across Guyana. Mocha, Beterverwagting/Triumph, Buxton, and Ithaca villages have formed co-ops and have employed many persons in their communities.

An effective part of the programme is its integration with the Sustainable Livelihood Development (SLED) project, which is an avenue to assist community groups in creating profitable start-up businesses. SLED continues to provide micro-financing assistance to over 20 co-operatives across the country.


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