Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Gillings calls for community development czar

Published:Monday | June 6, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Governor General Sir Patrick Allen and winner of the JIM (2009) Entrepreneurship and Community Development Manager of the Year and Fellows aAward, Scarlette Gillings, former managing director of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund.

Scarlette Gillings has spent her entire professional life in the area of community development and has witnessed the value of transformed communities.

It is from this vantage point that she is calling for a community development czar to be appointed.

"At this point, we urgently require an innovative approach to community development, and I am requesting and saying that we need a community development czar," Gillings said at the Jamaica Institute of Management (JIM) Manager of the Year awards ceremony where she received the 2015 Entrepreneurship and Community Development Manager of the Year Award last Thursday.

The former managing director of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) argued that the appointment of such a czar would stimulate growth and development and integrate our communities into the national growth strategy.

Gillings further argued that the economic growth that Jamaica seeks, through the growth council and growth czar Michael Lee-Chin, can best be achieved through the economic and social capital of communities.

"Economic growth will come from the respective growth sectors, but economic development will come with solid and pertinent investments in communities," she said.




Gillings affirmed her tremendous faith in communities, pointing out that each community has a unique combination of assets upon which to build a prosperous future.

The community development specialist, who spent 18 years at the helm of JSIF, rubbished any notions of negativity as it regards the potential of communities to drive economic growth in Jamaica.

"I refuse to accept any thought of hopelessness or that any community is beyond repair. I believe that what is required is a greater and more sensitive understanding and deeper analysis of community needs so that the help and interventions offered will more effectively strengthen their capabilities," she said.

According to Gillings, the potential for economic growth nascent in communities can be untapped by starting where communities are and building goodwill and trust among community members.