Jamaica is slated to benefit from the implementation of the Local Economic Development (LED) programme, which seeks to enhance governance at the community level.
This is being facilitated under the CAN$28.2 million Caribbean Local Economic Project (CARILED), being executed in CARICOM member states over a six-year period, through funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)-funded.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was recently signed between the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) for the undertaking.
Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott, who provided details during his Sectoral Debate presentation in Parliament on Tuesday, June 11, said a National Coordinator has been identified and is slated to commence duties in July.
Additionally, he informed that the Ministry has advertised positions for Local Development Officers for posting in six parishes shortlisted for the programme’s execution.
The Minister explained that the LED aims to establish economic activities/enterprises in 150 communities across Jamaica; support at least 300 small and micro enterprises enabling them to attain financial viability and/or expand their businesses; and positively impact the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by the time the programme matures fully.
Mr. Arscott said that while the administration moves to strengthen community governance and “equip our citizens to be valuable participants in the decision-making process”, it is important that tangible ways of advancing local development through economic empowerment of the citizens be identified and pursued for implementation.
In this regard, he said that the administration has adopted the LED as a “new policy initiative and strategy” to enable local authorities, primarily parish councils, as well as communities and other local stakeholders, to play a major role in growing the local economy, creating jobs, and reducing poverty within their jurisdictions.
“It is imperative that we establish avenues for communities and cooperatives to engage in economic activity. This will, in the process, make a significant contribution towards national economic development,” Mr. Arscott contended.
In pointing out that the project will not be confined to the six parishes earmarked for the project’s implementation, Mr. Arscott said the Ministry has been “seeking other opportunities” to forge collaborative relationships to enhance the LED.
“We are now prepared to move aggressively to implement (the) LED programme in Jamaica,” he declared.
Contact: Douglas McIntosh