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Ash rises into the air as La Soufriere volcano erupts on the eastern Caribbean island of St Vincent yesterday.

The Central Finance Facility (CFF) is coordinating the efforts of local credit unions to provide resources to the Credit Union fraternity in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

According to CFF President Letitia Telesford, “the CFF has found that targeting credit union members and their families in times of crisis, reduces the threat to this indigenous financial system of democratic management and equitable distribution of surpluses.”

The CFF’s stated that it intends to promote this venture as a national cooperative effort and is urging credit union boards to involve the individual credit union members in making contributions.

“Similarly to Trinidad and Tobago, in our neighbouring West Indian territories, credit unions play an important role in the financial system of St Vincent and the Grenadines,” a release from CFF stated yesterday.

“As such, and in the true spirit of Cooperation among Cooperatives, the CFF is seeking the cooperation of its member credit unions in providing relief and assistance to the credit union movement and people of St Vincent and the Grenadines,” it stated.

The CFF said in time, this assistance will translate into long-term support so that institutions on the island can be restored and begin to serve their members.

In 2018, the CFF established a fund and relevant policy with the intent to assist Caribbean States which are exposed to and threatened by natural disasters; inclusive of T&T.

“This fund would provide support towards the development of pre-emptive rehabilitation policies, the provision of psychological support to credit union officers, staff and members to assist them in coping with the aftermath of a natural disaster and the provision of low-cost financing for environmental activities that insulate against climate change and natural disasters,” it stated.

“The fund also seeks to provide low-cost financing for economic and business activities that rebound more easily from natural disasters and are more responsive and adaptable to climate change. The assistance that can be provided via this fund is necessary more than ever in this current disaster,” the CFF stated.

The CFF was established in May 2002 as the financial institution for cooperatives.