The Friendly Societies Advisory Council of the Ministry of Youth Development and National Service announced a new Friendly Society on Wednesday 20th January, 2021 after presenting the St George Benevolent Fund Friendly Society with their Amalgamation Certificate at the Office of the Registrar of Friendly Societies Office on Duke Street, Port of Spain.
The Amalgamation Certificate was presented to both Ms. Joan Constantine – Secretary, Maraval Catholic Friendly Society (established in 1911) and Mr. John Roman – President, St George Benevolent Fund Friendly Society based (established in 1979). The Certificate confirmed the merging of the two friendly societies as one entitiy to ensure continued service and benefits to their members.
“This merger is significant because it allows for the Friendly Societies to survive rather than going into liquidation. So I’m really pleased to announce this amalgamation,” said Mr. Farai Hove Masaisai, Chairman of the Friendly Societies Advisory Council.
The Friendly Societies Advisory Council was appointed by the Honourable Fitzgerald Hinds, Minister of Youth Development and National Service in November 2020. The Council has been charged with the responsibility to promote the general welfare of the people of Trinidad and Tobago, by encouraging the growth, development, improvement and expansion of Societies.
“Since our appointment, we’ve been working on a review of the Friendly Societies Act as it is a 1950’s piece of legislation. Furthermore, we would like to ensure that our activities are aligned to the Ministry of Youth Development – with a view to have young people being more active in the Friendly Societies Movement,” Masaisai added.
Friendly Societies have been in existence in Trinidad and Tobago since the early 19th century. These Societies offer assistance to members of communities for health care, insurance and general welfare and provide opportunities for savings, medical plans, land acquisition, loans and more.
The Ministry of Youth Development and National Service remains committed to bringing all stakeholders together to promote youth development and encouraging civic-minded citizens to contribute to National Service across Trinidad and Tobago. The Ministry now has responsibility for the Friendly Societies Division, the Cooperative Development Division, the National Entrepreneurship Development Company (NEDCO) and a number of Youth Development Programmes and Services.