Director of Caribbean Housing Solutions, Renaldo White showing one of the houses at Heritage Estates in Work Hall, St. Philip to Minister of State in Foreign Trade and Business, Sandra Husbands; President of the Co-operative Investment Fund, Oriel Doyle; and acting Registrar of Co-operatives and Friendly Societies, Brent Gittens. (T. Barker/BGIS)

Minister of State in Foreign Trade and Business, Sandra Husbands, has underscored the importance of the co-operative model, saying it provides an opportunity for Barbadians to be involved in wealth generation.

Ms. Husbands expressed this view today after touring two houses at Heritage Estates in Work Hall, St. Philip, which were built under a contractual arrangement with the Property Development component of the Co-operative Society Investment Fund Limited and Caribbean Housing Solutions Inc.

Describing the project as exciting, she said it allows young entrepreneurs to be a part of the housing revolution the Barbados Government is bringing, and provides needed housing for families who ordinarily would have difficulty receiving and affording a mortgage.

“So, we’re bringing affordable housing and I am so proud of the fact that the co-operative society has been the agent that has enabled this to happen. And why is that important?  If we are going to be inclusive financially as a society, where we’re allowing ordinary Barbadians to be able to participate in whatever wealth generation opportunities are there, one of the few ways they have in which to succeed is to do it as a co-operative.

“So, we’re bringing affordable housing and I am so proud of the fact that the co-operative society has been the agent that has enabled this to happen. And why is that important?  If we are going to be inclusive financially as a society, where we’re allowing ordinary Barbadians to be able to participate in whatever wealth generation opportunities are there, one of the few ways they have in which to succeed is to do it as a co-operative.”

Minister of State in Foreign Trade and Business, Sandra Husbands

“Within our families, there is not sufficient in terms of assets; there is not sufficient in terms of expertise to really do a great job of hauling a number of Barbadians into wealth generation. The co-operatives provide the opportunity for that to happen where they can pool resources; they can pool technical expertise, and they can use their numbers to be able to negotiate what is necessary to make a project work.”

Ms. Husbands stressed the importance of the work of the Co-operatives Department of the Ministry of Energy and Business, saying it was critical to being part of the island’s transformation.  

She gave the assurance that the Ministry would continue to give Barbadians vital financial literacy training, so they could let their money work for them as they participate in whatever wealth-generation activities taking place in the country.

“We want to be able to examine what are all of the various initiatives that come up that provide opportunities, and to be able to educate the average Barbadian on what they are, how they can participate, and what are the potential benefits. And then give them the financial literacy training so that they can manage their assets and investments and therefore become part of whatever prosperity Barbados is able to generate over the next five or 10 years,” she explained.

Minister of State in Foreign Trade and Business, Sandra Husbands and President of the Co-operative Investment Fund, Oriel Doyle checking out the kitchen of one of the homes at Heritage Estates in Work Hall, St. Philip. (T. Barker/BGIS)

As the Co-operative Movement celebrates its 100th anniversary, the Minister said this “is a perfect moment” to take it to a new level, and showcase the “excellent initiatives” that could result from the movement.

“We trust that by doing so, we will be able to encourage more Barbadians to join co-operatives so that we’re able to do what we need to do….  There is a group of beauticians and cosmetologists…interested in forming themselves into a type of cooperative.  If we can get that spread across Barbados, our small businesses can do much better, and the individual will have a greater variety of opportunities for investing in things that can help them build assets and wealth in this country,” she insisted.

Ms. Husbands lauded the “excellent work” done by Caribbean Housing Solutions, saying the houses were “very tastefully designed”.

“So, this is the kind of thing that we want to do within the co-operative sector. By just simply pooling our resources, we can begin to identify specific areas of development that will help not only the individuals involved but should help the country and even generate foreign exchange when that opportunity comes.”

President of the Co-operative Investment Fund (CIF), Oriel Doyle

President of the Co-operative Investment Fund (CIF), Oriel Doyle, said the investment of $1.5 million had generated over $5 million of revenue for the credit unions that provided the mortgages.

“Furthermore, it has provided 12 families with beautiful homes….  This project, as well, has generated employment for over 30 people over the last six to nine months of its operation.  So, we’re not only employing people, but we are also bringing our projects to fruition within budget and with a quality…that is probably second to none.

“So, this is the kind of thing that we want to do within the co-operative sector. By just simply pooling our resources, we can begin to identify specific areas of development that will help not only the individuals involved but should help the country and even generate foreign exchange when that opportunity comes,” Mr. Doyle stated.

He disclosed that two more projects would be undertaken, including one at South View, where 34 of the 36 lots have already been taken.  He added that the other project of 100 lots was for low income individuals.

The CIF consists of two components – the Property Development Fund and the Innovation and Technology Fund.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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