Tue | Jan 25, 2022

Credit Union president releases message of hope

Published:Wednesday | March 31, 2021 | 12:11 AM
Lambert Johnson, president, Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League.
Lambert Johnson, president, Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League.

My fellow Jamaicans, as you are all aware the world, including our own beloved country, is experiencing serious challenges brought about by the ever-present coronavirus. Families have been affected, as many of your loved ones have suffered and were even taken by the virus; jobs have been lost, small businesses have closed and big businesses are struggling, while children have been forced to endure distance learning, with technological skills they have not quite acquired. Even worse, socialisation has been hit badly as hugs have given way to social distancing and networking and other social activities have been squashed like spoiled melon under the feet of farmers. I could go on and on, but I believe that you already know it all because in one way another you are experiencing some aspect of the ravages of COVID-19.

From the beginning of this pandemic, credit unions have been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, offering members some measure of reprieve through reduced rates on loans, consolidation and rescheduling of loan repayments, moratoriums, and other incentives. But as a people organisation operating under the ‘people helping people’ philosophy, we have also reached out to help Jamaica through donations of cash and kind that have shored up the health sector, the poor in government care and education at different levels. We have been encouraged by the resilience of our people, and in particular those who are members of credit unions as you continue to transact business even while facing the challenges of mask-wearing, social distancing and continuous sanitising. We are pleased to report that the Credit Union Movement has so far been able to withstand the shock of the pandemic and all credit unions experienced an increase in members’ savings. We look forward to utilising these funds to provide loans to you, our valued members, once the country returns to normal, and affected members return to earning a stable income.

On the matter of hope, English poet Alexander Pope said it best: “Hope springs eternal in the human breast…” As a nation and as a credit union movement, we continue to hope no matter the odds. We hope for a healthy post-COVID, vaccinated Jamaica where our people can continue to work in environments where a healthy nation becomes a wealthy nation and a healthy family a wealthy family.

It is my hope that we will in this pandemic respect each other by following the protocols as set out by the Ministry of Health – wearing our masks, maintaining social distance and sanitising as we go along. Let us not be selfish in our quest to maintain our lifestyle, but remember those with chronic illnesses and the elderly whose health would be compromised by the careless and wanton behaviour of those who seek pleasure and economic fortunes. Let us work together to prevent the spread of this virus so that we can get back to the life and culture we so passionately crave. Let us all be our brother’s keeper.

Credit unions have been a refuge for the financially challenged in this country for 80 years, and we aim to continue to serve credit union members who are over one million Jamaicans strong.

Have a happy and safe Easter holiday.