The St Lu­cia Work­ers’ Credit Union opens New Premises at Gable Woods Mall in March

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

The St Lu­cia Work­ers’ Credit Union con­tin­ues to go from strength to strength cre­at­ing greater op­por­tu­ni­ties and ad­van­tages for its mem­bers at ev­ery stage. In­dica­tive of the SLWCU’s faith in the fu­ture is the an­nounce­ment of the credit union’s move to big­ger and bet­ter fa­cil­i­ties at the Gable Woods Mall on Mon­day 16th March, 2015.

Iron­i­cally, the new premises that the St Lu­cia Work­ers’ Credit Union is mov­ing to were once oc­cu­pied by the RBTT/RBC bank. As one in­ter­ested by­stander put it, “The St Lu­cia Work­ers’ Credit Union is re­ally snap­ping at the heels of the big for­eign banks!”

The com­ment, though friv­o­lous, was quite apt. A com­par­i­son is ap­pro­pri­ate be­cause like all credit unions, the St Lu­cia Work­ers’ Credit Union is owned and op­er­ated by its mem­bers, which means bet­ter rates and lower fees than those that cus­tomers in both lo­cal and for­eign com­mer­cial banks have to put up with.

While it would be wrong to im­ply that the Boards of Di­rec­tors of Com­mer­cial Banks do not nec­es­sar­ily work with the best in­ter­ests of their clients in mind, their first obli­ga­tion is to make money for the bank’s share­hold­ers; what­ever the mes­sage broad­cast on flashy ex­pen­sive bill­boards might con­vey, com­mer­cial banks are op­er­ated in such a way as to pro­vide their share­hold­ers with the max­i­mum profit. They are not there for the ben­e­fit of their cus­tomers.

Like all credit unions, the St Lu­cia Work­ers’ Credit Union dif­fers from banks; it is a not­for-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion. Hav­ing said that, it has to be stressed that the credit union is op­er­ated on strictly pro­fes­sional lines to cre­ate a sur­plus – sim­i­lar to a profit – the dif­fer­ence be­ing that all such sur­pluses or prof­its are re­turned to its shareholding mem­bers through a sys­tem of Div­i­dends and Pa­tron­age Re­funds. The sav­ings of share­hold­ers are safe – at least as safe as bank de­posits, if not more so – in their credit unions; de­posits are in­sured through CUNA Mu­tual at no di­rect cost to the share­holder.

The Board of Di­rec­tors and the em­ploy­ees of the St Lu­cia Work­ers’ Credit Union are ex­cited by this move to new premises and the op­por­tu­nity to serve their mem­bers even bet­ter in the years to come. The credit union’s easy ac­cess and height­ened visibility at the Gable Woods Mall will, it is an­tic­i­pated, re­sult in more and more St Lu­cian work­ers dis­cov­er­ing the ad­van­tages of join­ing their union.

Credit unions are gov­erned by un­paid vol­un­teer Boards of Di­rec­tors demo­crat­i­cally elected by the membership from the membership. All mem­bers get one vote re­gard­less of their fi­nan­cial po­si­tion. At present, the St Lu­cia Work­ers’ Credit Union has a branch in Grass Street as well as the new lo­cal­ity in the Mall. The open­ing hours are membership-friendly: Mon­day to Thurs­day, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and on Fri­days, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Grass Street to fa­cil­i­tate early morn­ing busi­ness; at Gable Woods, where com­merce starts a lit­tle more slowly, hours are Mon­day to Fri­day 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The Gable Woods branch is also open on Satur­days be­tween 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to make life eas­ier for shop­pers.

The St Lu­cia Work­ers’ Credit Union has come a long way since its in­cep­tion. Thirty years ago, it was not the en­tity it is to­day. The seed was sown within the walls of Ca­ble and Wire­less. The idea of form­ing a Credit Union was borne in May 1981 when one of the found­ing


FCat Foster our can­non at the Morne Bat­tery on Morne For­tune have been lifted out of the ground and repo­si­tioned next to the plat­forms where they were orig­i­nally lo­cated in the 19th cen­tury.

The area is also known as the Apos­tles’ Bat­tery; dur­ing the reign of Queen Vic­to­ria sol­diers used the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John when re­fer­ring to the four can­non.

The site is owned and pro­tected by the Saint Lu­cia Na­tional Trust. Its direc­tor, Bishnu Tulsie ex­plained that the Trust is keen to pre­serve the her­itage of Saint Lu­cia and fa­thers ex­plored the pos­si­bil­ity dur­ing a trade union train­ing course and dis­cus­sions be­gan with other mem­bers who al­ready knew of the con­cept.

The St Lu­cia Work­ers’ Credit Union was formed in July, 1982 by the staff of Ca­ble & Wire­less who used their bond of membership of the St Lu­cia Work­ers’ Union to come to­gether to bet­ter them­selves fi­nan­cially. The orig­i­nal mem­bers de­serve praise for their vi­sion of a bet­ter to­mor­row. The Credit Union could not have be­come what it is to­day with­out their firm sup­port. de­velop this his­tor­i­cal set­ting for the fu­ture ben­e­fit of the public. God­frey Weir, a vol­un­teer from the UK and a civil en­gi­neer has been su­per­vis­ing the project and as­sist­ing the Trust with his­tor­i­cal re­search.

On Fri­day 6th March, a crane from Philgence Trans­port, ex­pertly op­er­ated by Conie St. Louis, lifted the four can­non They are each some four me­tres long, weigh­ing 12 tons and had to be ma­neu­vered with ex­treme care and pre­ci­sion.

The can­non had been re­moved from their orig­i­nal em­place­ments around 1905 when Saint Lu­cia was ceded to

The St Lu­cia Work­ers’ Credit Union is the ideal, and nat­u­ral choice for the work­ers of St Lu­cia when con­sid­er­ing how best to safe­guard their fu­tures and build a bet­ter to­mor­row. A Union im­plies Unity, a Com­mon Bond, a Shared Goal, and Mu­tual As­sis­tance and Sup­port. The next time you pass the premises of the St Lu­cia Work­ers’ Credit Union at Gable Woods, pause for a mo­ment and con­sider whether or not the credit union would be the right choice for you. Now is the time for the work­ers of St Lu­cia to form a com­mon bond to the ben­e­fit of us all. the Bri­tish, the French hav­ing sur­ren­dered all claims to the is­land. With the need to pro­tect the na­tion no longer an is­sue, the can­non and car­riages were dis­man­tled. The four can­non, which had a range of some 2,000 yards, were aban­doned and, with the pass­ing of over a cen­tury, sank into the ground.

The Trust un­der­stands the im­por­tance of res­cu­ing and pro­tect­ing the can­non and has po­si­tioned them as close as pos­si­ble to their orig­i­nal plat­forms so that cit­i­zens and tourists may en­joy their grandeur and his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance.

God­frey Weir, a vol­un­teer and civil en­gi­neer, next to a repo­si­tioned can­non at the

Apos­tles’ Bat­tery on Morne For­tune.

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