Revelry at the Ritz
WESTERN BUREAU:It was a fitting venue for a function where money was the central theme. The elegant Ritz-Carlton Golf and Spa Resort in Rose Hall, St James, was selected by the Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League (JCCUL) for its 70th anniversary awards banquet last weekend.
The red carpet was rolled out for attendees representing the 42 credit unions under the umbrella of the league. Earlier, the credit union's 2012 strategic conference took place at the same venue where serious financial matters were discussed.
Later, the Ritz-Carlton ballroom, bathed in soothing hues of beige and brilliant gold accents, pulsated with music and revelry as the awards ceremony got under way.
Among the list of multiple award winners were COK Sodality, Jamaica Police, Manchester, St Elizabeth, and GSB Co-operative credit unions.
Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, state minister in the Ministry of Investment, Industry and Commerce who was guest speaker, paid tribute to the league for its long and distinguished service to Jamaica.
"Congratulations on 70 years of wonderful achievement. It's a marvellous achievement and I am very, very proud to be associated with you and to be here tonight to celebrate with you," she said.
The guest speaker, who is also the member of parliament for the constituency of St James West Central, said that with some 950, 000 members islandwide, the JCCUL is an important institution.
"Credit unions despite challenges, such as the lack of enthusiasm on the part of some businesses to borrow, continue to show growth in savings and loans, and assets have done well, she told guests.
As of December 31, 2011, the credit union movement reportedly achieved growth in total loans of 12.67 per cent moving to $42.31 billion.
Ewarton, Kirkvine and the University of the West Indies, Mona, led the way with significant growth in savings.
There was also an increase of between 34.28 and 61.6 per cent in the loan portfolio last year by Ewarton, Lascelles, GSB, Petroleum Industry, Jamaica Broilers, Churches of the First Born and Kirkvine credit unions.
"Let me take this opportunity to congratulate the JCCUL and member credit unions on the important role that you continue to play in nation building and in seeking to better the lives of our Jamaican citizens," added Minister Ffolkes-Abrahams.
"Of course, all of this illustrates the dynamism, potential and sustainability of the credit-union movement. We believe in you, we believe that you are important to exist and we will stand behind your progress."
The evening began with one hour of cocktails on the terrace and then shifted to the ballroom where JCCUL President Johnathan Brown welcomed guests. It was then time for the three-course meal, including a vegetarian entrée substitute for the vegans in attendance. Veteran reggae singer Marcia Griffiths and the Live Wire band provided live entertainment for the occasion.
- Nagra Plunkett
Songbird Marcia Griffiths performs at JCCUL's awards dinner at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Montego Bay on Saturday.