The Department of Co-operatives and Friendly Societies (DCFS), an agency within the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, continues its relentless pursuit of social equity and unity of purpose, which embrace the core values of decency, civility and co-operation. This is accomplished through its role in overseeing the functions of more than 688 entities (consisting of 517 Industrial and Provident Societies, 158 Co-operative Societies, and 442 Societies registered under the Friendly Societies Act) that has been pivotal in allowing Jamaicans the opportunity to combat poverty and improve their standard of living. Its activities have set solid foundations for meaningful change and sustained growth in many sectors of the economy.
ERROL A. GALLIMORE
Errol, Registrar of Co-operative Societies & Friendly Societies joined the Department in 1980 and was assigned to the Audit Section. He was promoted to Supervisor within a reasonable short period. He had a passion for financial matters and so he further built on the training he received on the job by doing extensive research on financial matters. It was no surprise that he worked his way to the top of the Audit Section in 1999; this position he held until he was appointed Registrar in 2010. He has studied at the Loughborough University in England, Xavier University in Canada, Management Institute for National Development as well as the Jamaica Paralegal Institute in Kingston.
SONIA V. SMITH
Sonia is currently the Director with responsibilities for the Inspectorate and Supervision Section. She joined the Department in 1979 as a Co-operative Officer after graduating from the Jamaica School of Agriculture. Since then she has held several positions in the Department and has acted on several occasions in the capacity of Registrar. She possesses a wealth of knowledge gained through training in Cooperative Management and Development from Hungary, Israel and England. She holds a BSc. Degree in HRM, Associate Degree in Cooperative Management and a Diploma in Agriculture. She is married with six (6) daughters.
LAVERN J. GIBSON-ECCLESTON
Lavern began her career at the Department as an Auditor and has moved her way up to her current position as Director of Audits and Investigations. She is accountable for the audit of the accounts of all Co-operatives and Friendly Societies, their financial management, and the investigations into fraudulent or unlawful use of these Societies’ funds and assets. She is a Chartered Accountant, married and has two (2) daughters.
PAULETTE A. KIRKLAND
Paulette, being the Director of Research, Training and Development is responsible for the provision of Co-operative Education and the facilitation of training and development to Groups seeking registration, as well as to member, volunteers and staff of Societies. She has been with the Department for the past fourteen (14) years and has held several positions over the period. Paulette graduated from UWI, Mona with a BSc. in Management Studies. She also holds a Post Graduate Diplomas in HR and a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Sector Senior Management Development. Her involvements in a number of civic duties and social activities have touched the lives of many.
Co-operative Societies and Friendly Societies in the island have all come into being with the object of bringing about an improvement in the economic and/or social life of the people who comprise their membership. The role of the Department in this effort is to assist societies to achieve this end by the application of proper co-operative techniques. It can be said, therefore, that the Department exists to assist people to improve their economic and social circumstances, by democratic mutual self-help processes: this assistance is provided through audits, inspections, training and guidance. The assistance however must be thought of as working with (rather than directing) people on projects which affect their everyday lives. On the officers of this Department is therefore placed a responsibility for the shaping the Societies they have in their care.
It is therefore the first and main task of officers of the Department to see their jobs as being primarily concerned with people and their lives, and to let the awareness of this fact be the guide in the carrying out of their every day duties.
The above is stated in spite of the Department’s responsibilities as defined in the Co-operative and Friendly Societies Acts and Regulations which are in themselves very regulatory in nature. It is precisely this reality which make the officer’s work more complex and, in a sense, more demanding.
Notwithstanding, the Officers within the Inspectorate Section are at times seen as policemen and gaolers as they endeavour to effect a very important area of the Department’s function. That of ensuring the safeness and soundness of the members' savings and investments, through
Inspection of records, accounts and securities and other assets of the societies, the development and implementation of improved techniques and systems to ensure proper operation of Co-operative Enterprises
Pre-audit checks to ensure audit readiness
Technical assistance at Board, General and Special Meetings in respect of adherence to the Act and Regulations, Rules, proper parliamentary procedures and sound management practices and principles