1001 Conversations for Economic Growth

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On August 14th 2013 we hosted the first in a series of community forums focused on Parish economic development and sustainable growth. ‘1001 Conversations for Economic Development’ aims to bring together community leaders and involved citizens to create a democratic space for which to share ideas on Parish development. The breakfast meeting was well attended by Development Area Committee members from around Manchester. This is the first of many discussions planned by the Manchester Parish Development Committee.

The meeting began with an introduction by Her Worship Mayor Brenda Ramsay who noted that collaboration among parish persons for parish development. Phil Rodrigeus of the Canadian Urban Institute spoke, noting the end of CUI’s funding after 15 years working in Jamaica focusing on local government reform and local economic development. He stressed the need for a creative approach to economic progress and job creation, and the importance of using local assets.

Attendees were divided into small discussion groups based on sector (Group 1: Agriculture, Tourism, Hospitality, Business. Group 2: Health, Education, Arts & Entertainment, Youth Involvement. Group 3: Transportation, Service Delivery, Construction, Retail, Manufacturing. Group 4: Elected Representatives, Professional Services, Banking & Finance, Service Clubs, Security). They were asked to write down gaps in sectors, possible solutions and who would lead the solutions.

Download and read the full group conclusions here: 1001 Conversations Report Forms.

Jason Henzell, Chairman of the St. Elizabeth PDC, gave a presentation on Stimulating Economic Development and Job Creation based on best practices in Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth. Mr. Henzell described the success of Breds Treasure Beach Foundation, Breds Sports Park and Academy, EduSport (sponsored by Unicef), the Jamaica Soccer Cup, and other initiatives. The need to leverage achievements to gather support, to capitalize on Jamaica’s hospitable culture and to ‘let people in’ to Jamaican culture were discussed. Important take aways included; to never be afraid to ask for sponsorship, funding or involvement, to use imagination and perseverance, and to focus on social and economic development. It was agreed that there is a lack of a destination marketing program in Manchester, and that moving forward branding Manchester as a parish is of importance.

The meeting concluded by summarizing that partnership, training and investments are pillars for economic development. The community leaders were encouraged to think about the discussion, take conversations back to their communities, to continue dialogue, filter down information and to send feedback.

This was just the first meeting of this exciting initiative. The Manchester Parish Development Committee looks forward to hosting more community conversations! Stay tuned for details on the next meeting.

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Categories: 1001 Conversations, News