Critical societal changes and development can be attributed to a healthy nonprofit sector and civil society. As a result, the various types of nonprofits help to create communities that are receptive to the spread of progressive cultural ideals.
As an independent nation, St. Lucia belongs to the British Commonwealth. Tourism, agriculture, and industry are the three primary pillars of the local economy.
In this article, we will consider the types of nonprofits in Saint Lucia and their operations.
- Nonprofits are at the forefront of a nation’s development efforts
- NGOs and civil societies should ensure that the voice and needs of local populations are taken into account in the formulation of development projects
- In Saint Lucia, the various types of nonprofits are active in areas of non-profit work such as education and human rights
What are the types of nonprofits in Saint Lucia?
There are four classes of nonprofits recognized in the small and vibrant nation of Saint Lucia. Specifically, each of these entities is governed by an act.
1. International Trust
These types of nonprofits are governed by the International Trust Act 2002. Altogether, the Act recognizes three classes of international trust: Protective Trusts, Purpose Trusts, and Charitable Trusts. However, our emphasis is on the latter.
By and large, a charitable international trust is established for philanthropic intent. These entities undertake charitable purposes that benefit the entire community or a significant portion of it. Among such benefits includes poverty alleviation, education advancement, religious advancement, environmental protection, human rights, fundamental freedoms, etc.
Regardless of whether a purpose is to be carried out in Saint Lucia or abroad and whether it is advantageous to a community in Saint Lucia or elsewhere, the activities are still considered charitable.
Also, a trust can only be registered under this Act when it has a registered trustee. Furthermore, during the period in which a trust is registered, if it fails to have at least one registered trustee in good standing, the trust may be struck from the register.
2. Cooperative Societies
Cooperative Societies are also included among the types of nonprofits in Saint Lucia. Similarly, these entities are governed by the Co-operative Societies Act.
According to the Act, a “Co-operative” or “co-operative society” refers to a body corporate that is registered and made up of a group of individuals committed to working together on the principles of democracy and self-help to secure a service or economic arrangement that benefits its members. As a result, the members are the primary beneficiaries.
Equally, this membership class is voluntary and open to anyone without artificial limitations or illegal grounds. Thus, anyone willing to use its services and willing to accept the cooperative responsibilities is eligible for membership.
Above all, societies must register in conformity with this Act before starting or continuing their operations.
3. Company Limited by Guarantee
The Companies Act 1996 governs these types of nonprofits. Societies become body corporate upon registration. Afterward, it acquires the capacity, rights, powers, and privileges of an individual subject to this Act and its bylaws.
A company limited by guarantee is known for its lack of share capital. Even more, these entities are prohibited from operating for the benefit of their members or anybody else involved in its promotion or management. Generally, these are typically established to ensure that the community gains from a particular initiative. Company Limited by Guarantee are often institutions like churches, foundations, trusts, etc.
Forthwith, each member must formally state their financial commitment to the company. This is done by signing a declaration of guarantee at the time of incorporation. The liability of its members is capped at the sum thus guaranteed if it fails and its assets are not enough to pay its debts.
A company limited by guarantee comes into existence on the date indicated on its certificate of registration.
4. Friendly Societies
These types of nonprofits are governed by the Friendly Societies Act. Basically, these entities comprise voluntary organizations of people who subscribe to provident benefits. Thus, they are a type of mutual society (ie organizations that prepare for future needs).
It should be noted that Friendly Societies are not corporate organizations. Basically, these groups are established to support or sustain members and their families through illness, old age, or widowhood. The voluntary subscription of members or the assistance of gifts is the funds used to support members.
Although several friendly societies are working at the national level, they typically operate locally and have strong affinities to their regions. Similarly, the operation of a friendly society depends heavily on member participation, as is true of every mutual organization. By and large, members have a role in how a friendly society is run. This is because it is run by and for its members. Friendly society members are also responsible for electing the board of directors.
What comprises the activities of nonprofits in Saint Lucia?
In Saint Lucia, various types of nonprofits are active in sectors such as education and human rights. Some of the most recognized NGOs well known for their efforts include St. Lucia Crisis Center and the Aids Action Foundation.
Primarily, The St. Lucia Crisis Center helps teen expectant moms, domestic violence victims, and school dropouts. The Aids Action Foundation on the other hand is known for its implementation of critical programs since its founding in 2000. Some of the critical programs include HIV/AIDS education and awareness and critical efforts that lessen the transmission and effects of HIV/AIDS.
Other major international NGOs that operate in the nation include The Red Cross, Save the Children, HelpAge International, and the Fairtrade Foundation. The latter has effectively established a connection between the nation’s small-scale farmers and the global market.
Furthermore, all unions in Saint Lucia are represented by the Trade Union Federation founded in 2005. This is with the exception of the National Workers Union (NWU). The NWU and the Seaman and Waterfront General Workers Union (SWGWTU) both have memberships of up to 3,000 persons. They are also a part of the St. Lucia Civil Service Association, which is the largest trade union on the island.
The diverse types of nonprofits are at the forefront of a nation’s development efforts. Hence, NGOs and civil societies should ensure that the voice and needs of local populations are taken into account in the formulation of development projects. Organizations can achieve this by collaborating closely with communities. Likewise, parliamentarians have a unique opportunity to represent the goals of citizens and NGOs who aspire to reach their full potential as leaders in their communities.
If you enjoyed reading this article, do let us know. Please share your comments with us at the bottom of this post.