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CLARENDON, Jamaica – The Child Development Agency (CDA), in partnership with First Heritage Credit Union, recently held a workshop in one of the Clarendon communities identified by child advocates as a hotspot for child abuse.

The workshop was one of eight organised by both entities under the theme, “Parenting for the Nation’s Sake”.

Some 54 parents in the community of Kilsyth were exposed to topics such as the growth and development of children; child abuse and the penalties; better parenting; and budgeting and financial planning.

Representing Member of Parliament Richard Azan, Bridgette Daley-Dixon, constituency secretary, said: “North West Clarendon is not immune to some of the issues affecting children in Jamaica, and therefore we welcome the effort.”

Daley-Dixon encouraged parents to protect their children with love, noting that when children were not loved they tended to seek love in the wrong places.

In her welcome, team leader for CDA's Clarendon office Francine Rhoomes lauded the parents for taking the time to learn about better parenting, explaining that the workshop was carefully tailored to help parents sharpen their parenting skills.

She urged them to take the message back to their friends and families.

FHC Branch Supervisor Ervin Ennis noted that everyone had to work together to ensure that the nation’s children were protected.

He said that FHC was committed to the cause and would continue to offer financial support to assist the CDA in carrying out its mandate.

Meanwhile, CDA’s social worker Antonette Brooks-Blake told the parents that trust between parents and children was important at all stages of the child’s development.

Parents were exposed to the six different types of child abuse: sexual, physical and emotional abuse, neglect, child labour, and child trafficking. They were also urged to make a report to the Office of the Children’s Registry if they knew or suspected that a child was experiencing any of these abuses.

One parent, Petra Allen, said what stood out for her was the importance of trust between her and her child.

“This is the most training I have received since becoming a mother and it has opened my eyes to being a better parent to my child,” she said.

Monday, July 06, 2015 | 12:52 PM - Jamaica Observer

Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon-Harrison, says Jamaican children are affected by violence of all types, as both victims and perpetrators.

“Children see violence in the home, in the community and in the school. It is in the local and international media, and it is in the way we exchange one to another, and in the way we go about our daily lives,” she said.

Mrs. Gordon-Harrison was addressing the First Heritage Co-operative Credit Union annual parenting session, on May 27, at the Knutsford Court Hotel, which was being held under the theme: ‘A Nation On A Mission…Parents In Action’.

Read more at jis.gov.jm


Change is always constant and must be welcomed for the opportunities they hold. In these harsh
economic times, it has become a staple for financial entities to fold under the demands of a changing
global climate and a difficult economic reality. Few financial agencies have been able to survive
the brutish environment without rethinking how they can deliver services to their customers cost
effectively. It was as a result of an effort to strengthen market position that a merger was undertaken
between two of Jamaica’s most renowned and viable credit unions. The product of two years of
negotiation between the boards and members of the Churches Co-operative Credit Union (CCCU) and
GSB Co-operative Credit Union, the newly created First Heritage Co-operative Credit Union Limited
(FHC), will officially launch on Wednesday, August 1st, 2012. The successor of two longstanding and
trusted entities, FHC will aim to exemplify a new, modern definition of credit unions to the Jamaican
public and stand as the largest open bond credit union in the country’s financial sector.

Established in 1971, CCCU boasts one of the largest credit union memberships in the island,
approximately 145,000 persons, and provides a wide range of products to its clientele including basic
savings options, pension funds and business loans. GSB Clerks Co-operative Credit Union was formed in
1944 and originally offered its financial services exclusively to government employees. Since then, GSB
has increased its membership to 28,000 and has broadened its banking portfolio to include a variety of
loans, family indemnity plans as well as health insurance coverage. Both credit unions have recorded
strong performances despite the prevailingly negative economic environment. During the period 2009-
2010, CCCU increased its portfolio by 11.3% and boasted an asset base of $4.3 billion, while GSB grew by
12% and had a total asset base of $2.5 billion. With the formidable financial histories of both institutions
as the guiding light for First Heritage, the entity will seek to create a new standard for doing business in

FHC’s interim board of directors, headed by President Orville Hill, embodies a wealth of knowledge
and experience in the commercial sector. Other members of the board include; First Vice President
Christopher Samuda, Second Vice President Michael Roofe, Treasurer, Balvin Vanriel, Assistant
Treasurer Michael Parker, Secretary Edmund Jones, and Assistant Secretary, Angela Ching. The
merger will offer enhanced opportunities for both companies to achieve economies of scale, offer
improved services and products to clients, attain greater levels of synergy, become a more effective
and competitive force, realize greater efficiencies and establish a best practices model in business

“CCCU and GSB have sought to provide benefits for all involved in the merger and will seek to maximize
the productivity of the new entity, while limiting the impact on staff and customers,” said Mr. Basil Naar,

Guided by the core values of reliability, team work, mutual respect, integrity, trust, responsiveness,
professionalism, technical competence and continuous improvement, FHC aims to provide superior
member care for its expanded client base of 165,000 individuals through 16 island wide locations
and a 24 hour call centre. To ensure all Jamaicans have access to FHC’s services regardless of income,
prospective members will be charged a minimal membership fee of JMD$500.00 and will be required to
purchase at least one permanent share currently valued at JMD$250.00.

In order to satisfy all the financial needs of its customers, FHC will offer a comprehensive range of 38
products including fixed deposits, micro and small business loans, salary advance loans, mortgages,
pensions, youth savings accounts, cambio services, motor vehicle loans, and investment instruments.
The organization will aim to provide innovative products through effective and efficient service delivery
while creating opportunities that will motivate team members and enhance the communities in which
it operates. FHC will look to effectively position itself as a leader in the business sector by developing
products that best serve the realities of its customers’ present day lives.. The new entity will also seek
to stand as a beacon in the Jamaican business marketplace and will also promote positive economic
growth and development within the wider society.

Small businesses will find it easier to raise equity when the newly formed First Heritage Co-Operative Credit Union (FHC) launches one of the island's first venture capital funds.

The fund, designed to help micro and small enterprises to get started and expand, is scheduled to open for business in 18 months.


Credit Unions usually set a portion of their surpluses aside for charity and to assist with community development. FHC will be the first to invest in businesses instead.

FHC, formed by the merger of Churches Co-operative Credit Union and GSB Co-operative Credit Union, was officially launched yesterday in an effort to create a stronger, more financially powerful institution capable of offering its members greater benefits.

"We have two strong credit unions with common objectives," said Orville Hill, FHC's president. "This is a true merger in the classical sense."

The new entity will boast a combined membership of more than 160,000 and an asset portfolio of $9 billion.

Credit unions have often merged over the past 20 years because one was weak, said Basil Naar, the chief executive officer of FHC. "In this merger, both credit unions were doing very well," he said.

The credit union will provide training and coaching for the companies that its venture capital fund invests in, Naar said.

"It's not just about money. It also has to do with supporting these small enterprises," he said.

Venture capital is normally sought during a business's early stages, especially when it is too small to get money from the capital markets or has trouble securing bank loans.

Although FHC will consider investing in any micro or small business, it will lean more towards those in the productive sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing, he said.

Those sectors need to be better funded, said Naar, who believes the FHC initiative will contribute to nation building. "More local producers mean more exports for Jamaica."

The share of the credit union's surplus that will go to the fund has not yet been determined, he said.

It will hold its investments until the businesses are marketable, then cash in and look for new companies to help. "Our plan is not get in the way of the business or entrepreneur. We will assist and get out of the way."

The merged co-operative will have 14 branches, one in every parish, and there will be no job cuts, he said. It will offer broader access to loans, and more products, such as a foreign exchange service.

The only retail financial service it will not offer is a chequing account, because it is not a member of the Bank of Jamaica Clearing House.

About Us


On August 1, 2012, Churches Co-operative Credit Union and GSB Co-operative Credit Union merged to form the new entity First Heritage Co-operative Credit Union Limited (FHC). This decision culminated the process of discussions that began in October 2010 when the idea of the amalgamation of the two Credit Unions was born.


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