Melvin R. Edwards is known throughout the Caribbean Region and internationally for his outstanding contributions to enabling families and communities of low and average means to access affordable finance and to gain ownership of democratically controlled financial institutions.
Mr. Edwards is a devoted credit unionist and a former President (1995-1999) and Director (1991-2009) of the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions (CCCU). In July 2007, he was elected Chairman/President of the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and remains the first Caribbean national to serve in this esteemed position. In 2009, his completion of 2 terms as the WOCCU Chairman was the culmination of 11 unbroken years as a WOCCU Board Director having previously served as Vice Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary.
He led WOCCU with distinction, resulting in several strategic breakthroughs, increased visibility and strengthening as the global trade association and development agency for credit unions worldwide. He has lobbied Government leaders in Europe, Australia, Africa, North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean to implement enabling policies and standards-based legislative frameworks and to improve trade facilitation so that credit unions, co-operatives and small businesses can expand and flourish. The International Consumer Protection Principles for Credit Unions were approved under his lead as WOCCU Chair.
In 2009, he earned the Certified Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE) and the International CUDE (I-CUDE) designations, and in 2010 he introduced the Caribbean Development Education (CaribDE) Program to the Caribbean region. CaribDE focuses on empowering the human capital of the sector by raising the bar of knowledge, skills and passion required for tomorrow’s leaders to address developmental and managerial issues with competence. After six years of existence, 24 programs have been held across seven Caribbean countries and 763 persons from 21 countries (including Canada, the USA, Haiti and Kenya) have been certified as Caribbean Development Educators. Since 2013, CaribDE has been partnering with the USDE and the ACCUC in supporting the Africa DE program. In June 2017, CaribDE, in partnership with the Canadian Credit Union Association and St. Mary’s University, will be staging the first-ever Canada DE Program in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
As the Managing Director of Development Co-operators Incorporated – a Management, Finance and Competitiveness Consultancy, Edwards has successfully implemented several regional development initiatives on behalf of multilateral organizations including the World Bank, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the European Union and the Inter-American Development Bank. Mr. Edwards has held four Chief of Party positions with international development organizations managing major multi-country, private and public sector economic competitiveness initiatives that have benefited the Caribbean.
For his outstanding works in eco-systems transformation, access to finance and policy advocacy for the Caribbean, Edwards has been honored by the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF), Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions (CCCU), CUNA Caribbean Insurance Society, the Eastern Caribbean Organisation of Development Foundations (ECODEF) and the Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League.
In 2013 he received the Distinguished Services Award (DSA) from WOCCU, for his lifetime of services to financial and other co-operatives worldwide and in 2014, in recognition of his exemplary work in development education, the United States Development Education (USDE) Program presented Mr. Edwards with the 2014 Individual Achievement Award. The Melvin Edwards Excellence Award established by the St. Kitts Co-operative Credit Union, has rewarded primary school students in his homeland for excellent test performances over the past seven years and Mr. Edwards has made personal donations to support more children with their educational goals.
Melvin Edwards is a graduate of the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill), the University of Wales (Swansea) and the Coady International Institute (Nova Scotia) and has authored numerous published articles and papers, drafted State policies, harmonized legislation for Caribbean jurisdictions and produced technical manuals on MSMEs, microfinance, credit unions and business associations. Residing in St. Lucia, he is married and is a father of four.