The Parish of Clarendon, Jamaica
Local Economic Development Strategy
Local Economic Development in Clarendon is informed by a three-year Strategic Plan spanning the years 2015-2018 and involves an economic development planning process undertaken on behalf of the Parish of Clarendon.
Its purpose is to review the local economy, evaluate strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and identify strategies for encouraging and enhancing community economic development and diversification. A community consultation process in the form of workshops involving the Political Directorate, Business interests, residents and local stakeholders was undertaken to guide the development of the plan.
The key strategic issues that the strategies address are:
1. Building capacity and collective action: The need to have capacity to create a supportive environment for community and business development is critical. The key to economic development is supporting and nurturing local MSMEs’ that can be built on a strong network of relationships among partners. An adequate resourced economic development function is needed that can facilitate partnerships and networking among the local political directorate, community groups, businesses and individuals.
2. Expanding the tax base: Improving and expanding the tax base both in terms of property tax and business taxes is critical. The challenge will be to provide and improve the provision of local government services, namely solid waste management, street lighting and infrastructure so as to improve the parish’s overall product to increase its competitiveness to attract new business.
3. Local Factors: Clarendon has several challenges in terms of zoning, the existing commercial areas, capacity of the buildings, the town of May Pen having exceeded its capacity, to name a few needs to be considered in business development efforts. Improving infrastructure and access to better farms roads to bring produce to market is required to overcome the barriers that exist and improve the attractiveness of the parish as a business location.
4. Commercial Market: Improving the competitiveness and further diversifying the retail, service and agriculture sectors are necessary to address this. A concerted effort is needed to define May Pen’s market position and spur investment and development into the traditional heart of the town.
5. Diversifying local employment: Creating and maintaining local jobs is seen as the solution to a healthy and sustainable parish. With some of the qualified local labour force either moving, working out of the parish or migrating and the traditional resource base industries of bauxite and sugar utilizing more automation, the need for local job creation is critical. If Clarendon is to provide employment opportunities for its population the parish must be well positioned for opportunities in growth sectors such as light industry, agriculture, retail, service and tourism.
The goals and objectives of the LED strategies are:
- Diversification - Expand the economy into new and growing sectors, as well as developing new opportunities within existing sectors.
- Employment - Create new, long –term quality jobs that provide opportunities for the local labour force
- Sustainable Development – Recognize the value of the natural environment, heritage and cultural resources in the continued sustainable development of the parish
- Prosperity – Building and maintaining prosperous communities
- Quality of Life – Maintain and enhance the Quality of Life of the parish
- Improve the structure and capacity for local economic development
- Improve communication between parish economic development stakeholders and the public
- Enhance diversification by marketing and promoting the parish
- Develop new industries to co-exist with bauxite and sugar
- Develop new agricultural techniques to maximize the quality and quantity of products
- Expand the Agro-processing industry
- Support and facilitate the MSME sector
- Expand the tax base in Clarendon
- Continue efforts to enhance May Pen with investment and development
- Build local capacity for collective action in the tourism sector
- Develop and promote the local tourism sector
- Develop a well trained and certified workforce