Tag Archives: Foster-Bournes

The Cooperative Movement is Founded in Panama’s Silver Townships

This is the remarkable Mr. Foster Bournes who, at last reading, had celebrated his 103rd birthday and still going strong

Cristobal Credit Union's Logo upon their 61st Anniversary in 2009

Image of entrance to the Cristobal Credit Coop around 1950

by Lydia M. Reid

Following the important victory in 1947, a few months later Mr. Harold B. Wright, an Afro-American and a regional sub-director with the Bureau of Federal Credit Union attached to the Federal Security Agency headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, was sent to Panama to guide and assist in the organization of this new entity that would establish cooperative banking in Panama. Continue reading

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The Silver Employees Death Benefit Association and its Beginnings

In the image depositors to the first credit union on the Canal Zone, The Cristobal Federal Credit Union, are served. Image thanks to Mr. Anthony McLean.

by Lydia M. Reid

The large West Indian workforce that came to Panama to work on the construction, maintenance, and administration of the Panama Canal once it was open to the world probably never imagined that their dreams of “making good” in the economic sense would, more often than not, turn to visions of penury- a dream turned into a painful reality.  Paid on the basis of the minimum “Silver” or “Local” rate many of the Silvermen and their families lived under extremely limited and precarious conditions. Continue reading