The formation of the Barbados Sustainable Energy Society Cooperative Limited has been hailed by a government minister as a revolutionary moment in the island’s energy sector.
Minister of Small Business, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, Dwight Sutherland, spoke to the importance of the newly formed energy cooperative, during the inaugural Annual General Meeting of the Sustainable Energy Cooperative Society Limited at Cooperators General Insurance Building, Collymore Rock, St. Michael, last night.
“Here we are standing with a revolutionary programme … the forming of a cooperative, where a minimum of 30 per cent investment opportunity would redound to the average Barbadian. While we will get investment coming into this country, to offset what we have lost from tourism, this is our Barbados and its people must indeed get its fair share, as we seek to transform and rebuild as a result of the pandemic,” Minister Sutherland stated.
The Minister also told his audience that the Fair Trading Commission Amendment Bill 2020, which he led earlier in the day in the House of Assembly, would further lay the foundation for sustainable renewable energy for more Barbadians to enter the sector.
Stressing the importance of cooperatives, Minister Sutherland said eight cooperatives had been formed pre and post the COVID-19 pandemic, and they include the Ross University Cooperative, the TAP programme, three agricultural cooperatives, and the Investment Fund Cooperative.
He noted that the cooperatives’ model was an excellent mechanism to create empowerment and enfranchisement of Barbadian small businesses.
“The cooperative movement offers a dynamic business model that can become a major engine of economic growth and a platform on which small businesses in Barbados can come together and network and take advantage of economies of scale in areas of production, marketing and service delivery.”
The Minister urged the Energy Society Cooperative to go into institutions such as the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology, the Barbados Community College and the secondary schools to teach students about investment, and about the benefits of joining a cooperative.
Research shows that globally, there are approximately one billion people actively involved in the cooperative movement, and generate USD$2.4 billion in revenue.