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CO-OPERATIVES EDUCATION

Place: The Registered Office of a Society

Co-operative Officer: " Good Morning Mr. Brown, I am here from the Co-operative Department to conduct an inspection of your Society's Records." (show the relevant identification and a copy of the letter which was forwarded to the Society re: Date to conduct Inspection and the Officer that would be conducting same.)

Mr. Brown (Treasurer): "Good Morning Mr. Jones, mi really did received your letter but a tell yuh the truth we don't like people fasing in wi business, yuh noh wi love wi privacy and the Chairman did done tell mi noffi mek nobaddy look thru the people dem books.  So mi really can help yuh." [Translation: "Good Morning Mr. Jones, I really did receive your letter but the truth is, we don't like person closely scrutinizing our business, you know, we love our privacy and the Chairman had told me not to let anyone look through the books"]

WRONG !!!! KNOW THE LAWS

Any person authorised by the Registrar should have access to a Society's records and be able to inspect the cash in hand, and the officers and employees of the Society should furnish information pertinent  to the Society as request for Inspection.  (Section 39 of the Co-operative Societies Act)


Place: The Registered Office of a Society

Secretary: Good Morning, gentlemen, and how is the morning.

(Men in chorus): Good! Good!

Secretary:  So what brings you here this morning.

Man: Well! Misiss. Anderson, George tell us a thing dis marning and wi come fi fin out if a true. [Translation: Well, Ms Anderson, George told us something this morning and we came to find out if it is in fact true.]

Secretary: What is that now.

Another Answers: Well! Him sey lass night yuh tell him sey fi tell wi sey the Society's AGM is dis week Friday, but that couldden be right Miss A. because as far as me know wi shoulda get at least one (1) weeks notice of the date of the AGM.  [Translation: Well he said last night, you told him, to inform us that the Society's AGM is this week Friday, however that could not be correct Miss A. because I know that we should get at least one (1) week notice for the date of the AGM.]

Secretary: Good Lord! You don't have to be so exact, the way I see it whether you get the message today tomorrow or one day next week, you still get it!!!

WRONG !!!! KNOW THE LAWS

The Secretary's way of dealing with the Meetings is indeed wrong.  The Board reserves the right to fix a time and date to have the Co-operative's Annual General Meeting but prior notice of at least seven (7) days needs to be given.  According to the Co-operative Societies Act, Section 19 "At least seven (7) days clear notice shall be given of the date of the Annual General Meeting before any meeting can be held"


Place: The Registered Office of a Society

(In the Managers Office)
Mr. Miller (Manager): Mr. Gomez I am so delighted that you decided to join our humble establishment. We are a reputable company registered under the Companies Act. The company is controlled by shareholders some whom you will meet and become familiar with as time goes by.

Mr. Gomez: Thanks for your courtesy Mr. Miller I am sure that my investment in this company will pay off, but before I leave I have a few concerns.

Mr. Miller: Whatever they are, I am sure that we can clear them up.

Mr. Gomez: I hope so. Firstly you say that you are registered under the Companies Act yet you have the word Co-operative at the end of the business’ name instead of the word Company. Why is that so?

Mr. Miller: Well! Mr. Gomez I am glad you noticed because if I do say so myself I think that naming the company as it is was a brilliant move on my father’s part. As you know people are drawn to Co-operatives so my father thought that if he added the word Co-operative to the Company’s name people would be drawn to it and indeed he was right. Besides, we aren’t breaking any laws by using the name Co-operative.

WRONG !!!! KNOW THE LAWS
According to the Co-operative Societies Act only registered Co-operatives may use the word Co-operative as part of their names.  In addition, the control of the company also needs to be revisited because Mr. Miller stated that control of the company was in the hands of member patrons when in fact investors and stockholders are the ones who control companies. It just goes to show that it pays to KNOW THE LAW!!!


Place: The Registered Office of a Society

Proposed Members: Good Morning!

Secretary: Good Morning, and what can I do for you this morning?

Proposed Member: Well!  I had submitted my application for membership to the Society at a members meeting held two (2) weeks ago so I have come to find out if my membership was accepted.

Secretary: Just a moment Sir (open filling cabinet) What is your name?

Propose Member: John Brown, Maam.

Secretary:( searches membership file for application) Aah, yes!!! Mr. Brown, here is your application  (pauses).  It seems that your application has been denied.

Proposed Members: Denied! On what grounds.

Secretary: Wee I see here where you application has been turned down on the grounds that you are too young.

Propose Member: Too young!!! But, I'm twenty-one and the Rules of the Society states that membership shall be open to all individuals over the age of eighteen years old.

Secretary: Well Sir, I am sorry but the Board of Directors, has the right to do whatever they please.

WRONG !!!! KNOW THE LAWS

According to the Co-operative Societies Regulation (Section 9): "The election and admission of members to a registered Society, other than original members, shall be in such manner and on such conditions as the Rules shall prescribe." 


Place: Forall Awee Co-operative Ltd. Board Meeting

Chairman: Now we will go to -Any Other Business. Is there any other business?
(Members said no) Well… I have something to say. I have a growing concern; this Society has been registered for twelve (12) years and we are not making enough surplus from what we produce. Members are not working hard enough. Furthermore, the Society about fifteen (15) miles away from us is performing better than us and they have just been registered for three (3) years. Sometimes I just do not want to have anything to do with this Society. I don’t see any reason why we should remain a Co-operative.
(An agreed nod came from a few members)

Secretary: We should never compare ourselves with other people. All we need to do is motivate and encourage the members. The surplus might be small but that does not mean we should give up. Do you have any other solution?

Chairman: I have spoken to some of the members of the Board and they agree with what I have said and -

Treasurer: What exactly are you saying, Mr. Chairman.

(Getting upset)
Chairman: If you will give me a chance to speak, I will tell you. (Pause). Thank you. (Speaks emphatically) After speaking with some of the members of the Board they agreed with me in having the Society dissolved.

(Loud mumbling began)

Hear me out. Silence!!!

Treasurer: (shouted) you cannot do that without the members' involvement. Also, maybe it is the person at the head of the Board who is to be blamed for the members’ poor production.

Chairman: (impatient) I disagree with that statement; I have done everything in my power to help this Society. I did most of the work. Furthermore, I am the Chairman and I have that right to dissolve if I want to. So Let us have a vote….

WRONG !!!! KNOW THE LAWS
The Board of Directors cannot make such a decision or a crucial ruling without the members’ knowledge and approval. According to the Rules of the Society, a Society may be dissolved by the consent of three-fourth (3/4) of its members, but only in the manner provided by the Act.  Neither the Chairman nor the Board of Directors can make such a decision without the approval of the members. It just goes to show that it pays to know the Law!


Place: Forall Awee Co-operative Ltd. Board Meeting

Mr. King (Chairman): Member! The Secretary has inform me that XYZ Ltd has threatened to file legal action against the Co-op to recover unpaid debts owing to that company for materials supplied to the Co-op last year.  Wi know tings not bright but wi need to find money to pay them before they take us to court. [Translation:  We know funds are not readily available however we need to find money to pay them before they take us to court.]

Mr. Simpleton: (taken aback) But Mr. King how is the first time me hearing about we owing money to XYZ  for supplies?  What kind of supplies and who signed for them?

Mr. King: (quite annoyed) The Secretary and myself signed the documents with XYZ for for them to supply the material needed for the brick-making project.

Mr. Simpleton: (bemused) But I can't recall the Board giving any permission for anyone to enter into agreement on behalf of the Co-op to buy any material

Mr. King: (real mad) None of the material never end up a mi yard, so what we need to decide is where to get the money from to pay the bill, and that is final. Uh!!!  [Translation: None of the material ended up at my home, so we need to decide how to get the money to pay the bill and that is final. Uh!!]

WRONG !!!! KNOW THE LAWS
Officers of the Co-operatives are permitted to enter into contracts on behalf of the Society only after they duly are authorised by the Board of Directors to do so.  This authorisation may come as a decision by the Board at a duly constituted meeting or as stated in an authorisation schedule approved by the Board of Directors or the members in General Meeting.

Contracts emanating otherwise are not binding on the Co-operative unless the decisions are made as aforesaid and duly signed by the individuals authorised to sign in accordance with the Society's Rules.  Consequently officers run the risk of being called upon to pay debts if they operate contrary to the Society's Rules and established Policies. 


Place: Forall Awee Co-operative Ltd. Board Meeting

Chairman: Now we will go to Any Other Business. Is there any other business?

(Members said no) Well… I have something to say. I have a growing concern; this Society has been registered for twelve (12) years and we are not making enough surplus from what we produce. Members are not working hard enough. Furthermore, the Society about fifteen (15) miles away from us is performing better than us and they have just been registered for three (3) years. Sometimes I just do not want to have anything to do with this Society. I don’t see any reason why we should remain a Co-operative.

(An agreed nod came from a few members)

Secretary: We should never compare ourselves with other people. All we need to do is motivate and encourage the members. The surplus might be small but that does not mean we should give up. Do you have any other solution?

Chairman: I have spoken to some of the members of the Board and they agree with what I have said and -

Treasurer: What exactly are you saying, Mr. Chairman.
(Getting upset)

Chairman: If you will give me a chance to speak, I will tell you. (Pause). Thank you. (Speaks emphatically) After speaking with some of the members of the Board they agreed with me in having the Society dissolved.

(Loud mumbling began) Hear me out. Silence!!!

Treasurer: (shouted) You cannot do that without the members' involvement. Also, maybe it is the person at the head of the Board who is to be blamed for the members’ poor production.

Chairman: (impatient) I disagree with that statement; I have done everything in my power to help this Society. I did most of the work. Furthermore, I am the Chairman and I have that right to dissolve if I want to. So Let us have a vote….

WRONG !!!! KNOW THE LAWS
The Board of Directors cannot make such a decision or a crucial ruling without the members’ knowledge and approval. According to the Rules of the Society, a Society may be dissolved by the consent of three-fourth (3/4) of its members, but only in the manner provided by the Act.

Neither the Chairman nor the Board of Directors can make such a decision without the approval of the members.  It just goes to show that it pays to know the Law!


Know the Laws. You may view the Co-operative Societies Act and Regulations online or purchase a copy from the Department of Co-operatives and Friendly Societies or the Jamaica Printing Services (1992) Ltd. (Government Printers).

registrar of D.C.F.S

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. Read more...