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  • The efforts will be geared toward stimulating economic development through the growth of MSMEs.
  • The local programme is part of the six-year CAN$28.2 million Caribbean Local Economic Development Project (CARILED).
  • Jamaica formalized its participation earlier this year.

The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development is reporting progress on work to implement the Local Economic Development (LED) programme, which seeks to enhance governance and economic development at the community level.

Under the initiative, efforts will be geared toward stimulating sustainable economic development through the growth of the micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) sector and community economic enterprises.

While this is being done, there will be simultaneous strengthening of the competencies and capacities of the beneficiaries, inclusive of local authorities, private enterprises, ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), and other key community stakeholders contributing to, or involved in the LED process, through training; knowledge sharing (local and regional); technical assistance; and direct project support.

In this regard, the LED is expected to lay the platform establishing economic activities and enterprises in some 150 communities islandwide; 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.

The local programme is part of the six-year CAN$28.2 million Caribbean Local Economic Development Project (CARILED), funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

It is consistent with the Government’s 2013/14 strategic priorities, focusing on job creation and economic growth. It is also one of the strategic local government reform priorities identified by the ministry.

CARILED, which runs until 2018, is currently being implemented in CARICOM member states by the Caribbean Forum of Local Government Ministries (CFLGM), with assistance from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).

Jamaica formalized its participation earlier this year when the Ministry signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the FCM. The Ministry also serves as Secretariat for the CFLGM, which is chaired by Portfolio Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott.

The Minister advises that six parishes have been selected for the local programme’s pilot phase. These are: Kingston, St. Andrew, Portmore, St. Catherine; Manchester, Clarendon, and St. Elizabeth, where projects have been identified in the areas of: eco-tourism, agro-processing, sports, tourism, recycling, and light infrastructure.

A document from the Ministry states that an evaluation instrument was developed to select the pilot parishes/municipality.

Considerations, it adds, were given to 10 criteria, including the status of Local Sustainable Development Programmes (LSDPs); commitment to long term support of LED; strong partnerships with community participatory mechanisms, such as Parish Development Committees (PDCs); and commitment to advancing local government reform, the document notes.

Speaking at a recent Social Development Commission (SDC) community development committee conference in Mandeville, Manchester, Mr. Arscott informed that a LED National Country Co-ordinator (NCC) for Jamaica has been appointed.

Information provided by the Ministry indicates that the successful candidate, who was appointed in July, was selected from 50 applicants, all Jamaicans, who responded to advertisements for the post in late 2012.

The NCC will report directly to the Programme Implementation Manager, based at CARILED’s regional office in Trinidad and Tobago.

Additionally, Mr. Arscott advised that six Local Economic Development Officers (LEDOs), who will be assigned to assist with project implementation in the six pilot parishes, have also been appointed.

He said with the exception of Portmore’s officer, all LEDOs will be based at the respective Parish Council offices. The Portmore representative will be temporarily accommodated at the Ministry’s Hagley Park Road offices in Kingston, until that municipality’s council finalizes permanent arrangements.

The Ministry’s document informs that a Local Economic Development-National Advisory Council (LED-NAC) will be appointed to provide “strategic direction and oversight” for Jamaica’s roll-out of its LED Programme.

“The LED-NAC will be vested with the power to influence related policies and supporting legislation,” it outlines.

At the local level, Local Economic Development-Project Advisory Committees (LED-PACs) will be established to support implementation of the myriad activities within communities.

“The LEDOs (supervised by the NCC) will work closely with the LED-PACs to ensure that projects and other inputs from CARILED are implemented as programmed, and sustainable results are achieved,” the document  states.

The proposed priority projects have been initially reviewed by a CARILED team, and are to be packaged and presented for approval.

“It is projected that by the end of October, a determination will be made regarding the projects that will be implemented in each locale,” the document notes.