ILO’s participation in the consultations on the cooperative act and policy in Trinidad and Tobago

The ILO took part in the consultations on the national policy on cooperatives and the Co-operative Societies Act held by the Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development in Trinidad and Tobago.

News | 27 September 2019
On 11 and 17 September 2019, the Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development in Trinidad and Tobago held consultations in Port of Spain and Tobago with financial and non-financial cooperatives on the National Policy on Cooperatives and the proposed Amendments to the Cooperative Societies Act 81:03. The act enacted in 1971 seeks to guide and supervise the development of cooperatives. Since, a single amendment was made in 1997.

Senator the Honourable Jennifer Baptiste-Primus, Minister of Labour and Small Enterprise Development
With 309 cooperatives across the country and over half a million members, the cooperative movement in Trinidad is a key player in ensuring the social and economic wellbeing of large parts of the population. The sector is faced, however, with new challenges such as digitalization and decreased interest by youth. Issues including these are sought be covered in the new legislative framework.

Virginia Rose-Losada, the Sustainable Enterprises Specialist of the ILO-Caribbean office, was invited to share insights from an international perspective at both consultations. “The aim of this work is not only to bring the legislation to the realities of today but moreover, to what may be the world for the next 10, 15 or 20 years down the road” said Ms. Rose-Losada during her intervention.

Virginia Rose-Losada, Sustainable Enterprises Specialist of the ILO-Caribbean Office
While credit unions remain the backbone of the cooperative movement in the country, Ms Rose-Losada concluded her remarks by encouraging all cooperatives, financial and non-financial to have their voices heard to ensure the Policy and the Act cater for all types of cooperatives.

By the end of the year, the Ministry hopes to submit to Cabinet a new policy and amendments to the Cooperative Societies Act. The ILO’s office in Port of Spain reaffirmed its availability and commitment to support the Ministry in these final stages.