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Learning to save

Minister Ronald Jones and officials with students of the George Lamming Primary School.

Those children who choose to save in a credit union are joining an “impactful” movement.

Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, intimated this yesterday as he addressed the launch of a savings club at the George Lamming Primary School, Flint Hall, St. Michael.

“Once you become a member of CARES, being operated by the City of Bridgetown Cooperative Credit Union Limited, you would have in fact joined a significant number of persons in Barbados who are members of the Credit Union movement,” he said, as COB rolled out the initiative.

Pointing out that the local credit union movement had 156,880 members, Jones told the young students: “This movement is so impactful in the lives of people… So, you are joining a movement that is quite large in Barbados and very useful to the majority of its members… You are also joining a movement where the assets are now in the region of $1.5 billion, a phenomenal amount of money.”

Stressing that this would have been amassed over the last 20 years or so, Jones noted that persons did not join a movement that was not beneficial to them.

“You are joining the credit union because it is going to be of benefit to you,” he said, adding that COB probably had one-third of the members in credit unions in Barbados, and its youth savers programme had a membership of 8,564 and savings to date of $8.5 million.

The education minister added: “That is enough money that could build a school of this size, to house 629 students… that [savings] is about $992 per person…, that’s a phenomenal amount of money being saved. It is good for a nation to encourage its young people to save, because when you save, you are doing at least three things.

“You are expressing a civic responsibility to save. A country needs all of its people to save because you need those savings for investment in the development of the country because people borrow, businesses borrow from the savings of all of us and Government borrows also.

“It is also a social responsibility, a family responsibility and an individual responsibility because you are saving for your future development and some of these savings, if they grow significantly, can help educate you.

“It is also an economic responsibility because it helps your country to develop, since the $1.5 billion you [can] on-lend to your members who use it for provident and productive purposes — providing for your future needs and yielding favourable results.”

Stressing that more needed to be saved, Jones said: “We need to save to build our lives. The world is becoming more difficult to live in, and unless we are able to save for later stages of life, then we are going to be depending on the state — a government system that will also be having reduced resources to help us with our social safety net – such as welfare and pensions.”

COB representatives heard that the Ministry of Education supported the initiative and encouraged its reach across both primary and secondary schools. “It gives our children a sense of responsibility,” said Jones, as he added that there was “a lot of room for the credit union to change the landscape of Barbados phenomenally”.

He appealed to the credit union to bring to fruition the promised supermarket and a bank “owned by all of us”. And he told the students it was important to be part of the evolution and transformation of Barbados.

“hat people who hitherto did not own anything about 400 or 300 years ago are now owners of whatever institutions we are able to develop. In Barbados only the credit union can facilitate it,” Jones maintained.

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