Since the 1990s, the renewal and reform of Local Government has been placed at the top of the priority list. Jamaica, to date, has one of the strongest Local Governments in the Caribbean region. The number of authorities, their services and their budgetary independence are such that our local government system is more decentralised than the rest of the Caribbean. Our system is based on the conviction that despite shortcomings in the system, a strong and vibrant Local Government is essential to the attainment of a society in which all citizens enjoy real opportunities to directly participate in and contribute to the management and development of their local communities, and by extension, of the nation.

Such a society is desirable not only as the best means of safeguarding and deepening our democracy but also as a framework for releasing the initiative of the Jamaican people and channelling these towards the solution of our problems. Consequently, the process to find appropriate solutions to various challenges is ongoing and the view of Local Government Reform Programme is designed to achieve that objective. Local Government and Community Development are complementary processes by means of which it can achieve its focal objective of empowering citizens to enjoy greater self-management over their own affairs and take initiatives towards, and responsibility for, determining and solving their own problems.

The Manchester Parish Council’s motto “Serving you is our Only Business” sums up the vision the Council has for the citizens of Manchester. In order for the goals and functions of the Council to be realized, sustainable initiatives must be implemented and maintained. The Local Sustainable Development Plan underscores the significance of sustainable development within the parish. Sustainable Development calls for the integration of social, economic and environmental policies that see to the growth and development of the parish. It calls for the participation of all stakeholders to ensure its success. Sustainability is related to the quality of life in our communities and the Manchester Parish Council’s Corporate Plan strives to bring this concept to life.

The Local Government Reform Process calls for action on the part of local authorities to find innovative methods of funding their operations while cutting cost and increasing revenue. The principles of sustainable development are Transparency and Accountability, Local Partnership, Participation, Common Good, Social Equity, Concern for the future and a Responsive Government among others. These principles fall in line with the strategies outlined in this document as we work on maintaining the delivery of services and improvement where necessary.

The Parish Councils Act mandates the involvement of the local planning authority in parish planning which includes economic, social and environmental stewardship. As such, any plans formulated by the council and source of funding must include the citizens of Manchester. The Corporate Plan gives a detailed breakdown by departments of targets and associated cost for the period 2014-2016. In order to achieve an integrated approach towards these targets, the strategies outline flow through the various departments to avoid overlaps.