Trial, self-belief, success - Carter-Lecky rises from municipal police to head of poor relief at StJMC
In 2004, when Pauline Carter-Lecky joined the staff at St James Municipal Corporation (StJMC) as a municipal police officer, few could envision that in 16 years, she would rise to the position of inspector of poor and head of the Poor Relief Department.
However, for those who knew her well, Carter-Lecky’s climb from being the senior supervisor of the 34-member strong municipal police team at the StJMC to her current position would not be surprising as they would have also known that she was once a five-star chef and a restaurant manager.
Interestingly, Carter-Lecky, who was born and raised in Deeside, Trelawny, initially wanted to become a nurse, but the death of her father in her teenage years scuttled those dreams.
“I was not necessarily interested in the field of enforcement when I sought to work as a municipal police officer,” she told The Gleaner. “When my father passed, it put a damper on my dreams as he was the one who would have funded my education. His passing and the fact that I had older siblings in college at the time forced me to make some change in my direction, and I ended up working in various fields before getting my education back on track.”
Carter-Lecky’s first job was as a clerk in a furniture store before she moved to Grand Cayman, working as a babysitter while studying for her O’Level examinations.
She then transitioned into the restaurant business operated by the family which had employed her. After six years working as a cook, she returned home to Jamaica and secured a job as a chef at the Coyaba Beach Resort in Montego Bay before moving on to Rafter’s Village Restaurant in Martha Brae, Trelawny.
When Carter-Lecky got a chance to revisit her childhood dream, she headed to the St Ann Infirmary as a ward/nursing assistant.
“I worked in St Ann for two years before being transferred to Trelawny. I enjoyed working as a nurse and learned a lot. However, I wanted to do so in Trelawny, my home parish, and I was really glad when I was transferred to the parish,” she told The Gleaner.
Always up for a challenge, in 2004, Carter-Lecky, a mother of one, decided to try her hand as a municipal police officer at the StJMC. Within two years, she was shifted to managing the Charles Gordon Market and finally, in 2008, her preferred option – a chance to work in the Poor Relief Department.
“The new secretary-manager saw my potential and helped to open up the way for me to commence working as poor relief officer,” said Carter-Lecky. “After five years in the department, I was transferred to the Hanover Municipal Corporation as the senior poor relief officer in 2013, where I worked until 2016. I acted as the inspector of poor in Hanover on two occasions during that time.”
When she returned to St James in 2016, Carter-Lecky took up the post of deputy inspector of poor before being promoted to the position of inspector of poor, where she now heads a nine-member team, which includes her deputy, a secretary, and six poor relief officers.
Carter-Lecky wants to play a critical role in securing houses for the parish’s registered poor.
“I would like to see us paying out less for rental and providing housing for more clients, particularly those who are in dire need of shelter,” she said. “The need across the parish is real and I know that the StJMC will continue to do what it can to make the lives of these people better.”