A wonderful day to all Dominicans and special greetings to cooperative friends from all over Dominica! Our day is here - The International Day of Cooperatives.
This is a very special date, in which more than one billion members of three million cooperatives on all continents, can show our strength. This year, during the observance period and beyond, we want to invite everyone to Rebuild Better Together, to rebuild the economic and social fabric of our society which was adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have all felt the impact of this health, social and economic crisis on a global scale. This crisis also points to us how collectively, cooperatively and strategically how we can rebuild this world, so that no one is left behind. To emerge better from this crisis, we must cooperate.
Guided by solidarity, we can all do our part to build a stronger and just future so everyone can live with dignity in a progressive and peaceful society. So, today, more than ever, an economic model with community leadership focused on the common good is necessary. The cooperative model is one of the best answers- if maximized it is guaranteed to bring these principles to reality.
For a long time in Dominica through cooperatives, we have shown that it is possible to produce, consume, save, educate, serve and live together, while also prioritizing the wellbeing of people and the environment. All of us – cooperatives, organizations, and people, must act today to achieve a just recovery in this complex world and more specifically in our local context. I want to take this moment to recognize cooperatives and their members for the enormous effort and the great difference they have already made. Rebuild Better Together is a call to continue putting our cooperative principles into action.
To sustain work, production, consumption, health, finances, communications, essential services and many other activities that are facing difficulties. It is a call to continue providing opportunities for young people, women, and the most vulnerable in our society, so they can achieve their hopes and dreams, personally and professionally.
It is a call to continue innovating to meet the new challenges posed by technological advances while putting people and the environment at the center of these developments. It is a call to continue affirming our commitment to peace, and actions, that results from social, economic, and cultural equity among our people.
Today we take the moment to note the advances we have made example through our longstanding progressive credit unions which have impacted the lives, growth and development of perhaps every household, community, our nation and region.
The Dominica essential oils of over fifty years continue to make its mark and contribute to export and foreign exchange earnings. The new emerging cooperatives around Dominica, Grand Bay Farmers’ Cooperative Ltd, the North East Multipurpose Cooperative to name a few that add value to primary products, expands agriculture base and the rural economy. The M’Largan, a product of the cooperative society’s league, using new technology to promote, market and facilitate trading of goods and services to the benefit of our economy.
I commend all our cooperatives for your efforts and that of the Cooperative Division and assure you of the government’s continued commitment and support. I commend you for all of these initiatives for as a small island developing state we have risen to the challenges posed by a competitive global environment.
And hence we realize how even in time of crisis, our strong cooperative identity is based on unique values and principles that are focused on responding to the needs and aspirations of people. In times of crises, this identity has helped rebuild communities that are more resilient.
This can be seen in our cooperative experience in each country, region and sector. For all these outlined this reason, on this International Day of Cooperatives, let us make our voices heard. Let us continue to light the torch, bind our hearts and minds and hold hands together. Let's proudly show our identity.
And let's all make the call to Rebuild Better Together.
Happy Cooperatives Day