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The Department of Co-operative and Friendly Societies settled 80 cases involving $40 million during the 2004 /05 financial year, and is targeting to resolve 200 cases amounting to $67.1 million for the 2005/06 fiscal year.
This is outlined in Ministry Paper 41, tabled by Minister of Commerce, Science and Technolgy, Phillip Paulwell in the House of Representatives, yesterday (June 1).
The Ministry Paper also reported that in respect of the Co-operative Societies Act and Regulations, representatives of the senior officer corps of the Department continued to engage in dialogue with the legal team of the Ministry of Commerce, Science and Technology and other stakeholders in treating with areas of concern regarding the proposed revision of the Act.
A submission is expected to be made to the Cabinet on this legislation during the current fiscal year. Meanwhile, senior officers within the Department also maintained dialogue with the Finance Ministry in order to facilitate the collaborative and consultative process to be effected with the Friendly and Benevolent Societies in soliciting their input to the proposed changes to the Friendly Societies Act. A public forum is to be held during the course of the year to address the concerns and recommendations of stakeholders.
Outlining other achievements during the financial year, the Ministry Paper stated that the Department continued to develop partnerships and worked collaboratively with other entities involved in community development. This led to 79 groups in various communities being organised, of which 49 became legal entities.
As a result, the communities saw the facilitation of road improvement, community centres were developed, and basic schools were rehabilitated. In addition, there were improvements made in types and quality of water supplies and the construction of multi-skilled training centres as projects being undertaken by the communities.
Among the agencies that collaborative partnerships were formed with, were the Jamaica Social Investment Fund, the Ministry of National Security, the Social Development Commission and the Jamaica 4-H Clubs.
Other organisations lending assistance in the Department’s community development projects included the Social Initiative for Urban Environment, Local Initiative Facility for the Environment, St. Elizabeth Environmental Protection Agency and the United Nations Development Programme.