History of Co-operatives

The roots of the modern co-operative go as far as 1844 in Rochdale, Great Britain as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution. The dire economic conditions propelled people into seeking solutions to alleviate the crisis. This gave rise to people pooling their resources to acquire enough capital to start businesses where goods were sold, and the profits distributed to its members.

The Co-operatives concept in time was introduced to other countries with varying adaptations. The Caribbean formally embraced the movement in the 19th century when missionaries from Canada and the USA introduced the concept.

In Antigua, a financial co-operative was introduced in the 1950’s by Father John Peter Sullivan a Roman Catholic priest. Hence the St. Joseph’s Credit Union was the first to be established followed by Ebenezer, the Antigua and Barbuda Teachers and the Antigua & Barbuda Police.

Today co-operatives are in 80 countries around the world. From the 1950’s to 2023 we have seen steady growth in Antigua & Barbuda.  There are seven affiliated financial co-operatives registered with the League, with a combined membership of over 43,000, and an asset base of over $558 million.

Background Information On The Antigua And Barbuda Co-operative League Limited

The Antigua Barbuda Co-operative League Limited was registered on 2 December 1981.  It is governed by the Co-operative Societies Act, No. 10 of 2010, the Regulations and its By-Laws, which were revised in June of 2013.  The Antigua and Barbuda Co-operative League Limited is the apex organization of financial and non-financial co-operatives. A seven-member Board of Directors provides policy and strategic direction to the League.

The League supports the credit union / co-operative system by providing information, training and technical services to its members while representing the movement at the national, regional, and international levels.

The League’s thrust is to co-ordinate, monitor and promote activities for the development, growth, expansion, and integration of co-operative societies in Antigua and Barbuda, and perform representational and other functions as may be determined by its members.