By Robyn Adderley
Co-operatives can not only maximize potential but move residents from workers to entrepreneurs, said Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs the Hon. Clay Sweeting during the official opening ceremony for the Offices for the Grand Bahama Cooperative Societies Ltd., on Friday morning. Also attending the ceremony were Min. for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey; Minister of State for Public Service, the Hon. Pia Glover-Rolle; Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Theo Lightbourne and senior government officials from Nassau and Grand Bahama.
Referring to the Speech from the Throne, the Minister noted that food security was mentioned as a top priority and food imports will be reduced by setting targets in the National Development Plan. Steps must be taken to be able to feed ourselves, as well as export quality goods, he said, as this was a lesson learned from the ongoing pandemic. An environment ought to be created to attract young people to the field of Agriculture.
“The Department of Cooperative Development continues in its National Cooperatives development initiative to re-introduce producer/service cooperatives throughout the length and breadth of the country, engaging adults and youth in all spheres of industry.”
There will be a reduction of unemployment with the development of successful cooperatives, as well as increased individual wealth. Describing the day as a historic one, Minister Sweeting said his Ministry is committed to encouraging the cooperative business model which will move Bahamians from workers to entrepreneurs, as they play an important role in transforming the economy.
He said, “Our people are blessed with talents which must be developed in a meaningful way to benefit them, their community and the economy of The Bahamas. Co-operatives provide the vehicle for such gifts to be materialized. All Bahamians who may wish, can become owners of a business, resulting in economic empowerment; job creation; a diversified economy and an increase in morale and personal net worth.”
Following the official ceremony, the Ministers participated in the blessing of the building, a ribbon cutting ceremony and a tour of the facility.