JIS News

Chairman of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), Dr. Wesley Hughes has said that the Fund has made a significant contribution to the lives of ordinary Jamaicans, improving the standard of living of the poor.
Dr. Hughes, who was speaking at the company’s annual general meeting yesterday (Oct. 5), said over a nine-year period, JSIF has approved more than 777 projects, with 526 of these already completed, while 691 have been contracted.
Since being established in 1996 JSIF has spent some $3.2 billion on 526 projects, improving social infrastructure and implementing social services in poor communities across the island. The Chairman noted, though that the Fund, “cannot by itself solve poverty in Jamaica, we are part of a network of institutions, organisations, projects and programmes that form the network of Jamaica’s poverty reduction strategy.we are an important element but not the most important.”
He stressed that a collaborative approach is integral in JSIF carrying out its functions, explaining that the company “operates as part of a partnership that involves non-governmental organisations, other government agencies, and very importantly, our international partners like the European Union and the Japanese government…but we also have partnerships with Canadian Development Bank, Inter-American Development, the World Bank, and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.”
Dr. Hughes said by working in tandem with the varied organisations, “we have to work respectfully in genuine collaboration to get things done.”
He argued that while poverty reduction was important, Jamaica’s development could not rest solely with “just simply dealing with poverty reduction strategies.”
“We have to get into the mode to complement poverty reduction, the mode of wealth creation and I know that is not the exact mandate of JSIF,” he said, “but it has to complement whatever we are doing to grow the economy, to develop the infrastructure, to attract investment, to create harmony, create a sense of social cohesiveness that no single community feels left out.” In the meantime, Managing Director of JSIF, Scarlette Gillings said, “over the past year, we have reasonably well, we have surpassed many of our targets and our outreach has been far and wide.”
She informed that JSIF had also given aid to other programmes and countries, in particular, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“We assisted them in putting their social investment fund together, and we have assisted other agencies and other countries with technical assistance in expanding their social investment funds,” she explained.