National Disabilities Bill to be Tabled in Parliament Soon

Wednesday, 21 November 2012 15:50
Written by Andrea Braham

Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, says the Government has begun the process of formulating legislation for Persons with Disabilities and will be pushing for the National Disabilities Bill,to be tabled in Parliament very soon.

“This legislation will seek to promote, protect and facilitate full and equal fundamental rights and freedoms for persons with disabilities, in the areas of education and training, employment, political office and public life, health care, housing and public transportation,” the Minister said.

Mr. Kellier, who was speaking at the Inaugural Disability Friendly Awards and Gala Dinner, held at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel on November 19, said that as a country, Jamaica has made tremendous progress in advancing the cause for persons with disabilities, and is proud of the lead role that his Ministry is playing in moving forward the disability reform agenda.

The Minister also announced that the Japanese Policy Human Resources Development Programme, which is administered through the World Bank, recently approved a grant of US$2,897,790 for the advancement of the disability agenda.

He promised to continue to create awareness about the community of persons with disabilities through robust and effective advocacy, designed to achieve equality, accessibility, inclusion and empowerment.

Meanwhile, Education Minister, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, who endorsed the Disability Friendly Awards and Gala Dinner, said the Ministry’s aim is to have within five years, at least one trained special education teacher in every one of Jamaica’s nearly 1,100 public schools.

He stated that before the end of the financial year, there will be 200 trained special education teachers under the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP) in the schools.

“It is also policy for all school buildings, new ones and also those already standing, as far as possible and in the shortest time, to be accessible to persons with disabilities,” Rev. Thwaites said.

The Minister also announced that on a recent visit to Ontario, Canada, he secured the support of the Carpenters Union of Ontario, led by Jamaican, Ucal Powell, who has offered to join with the Ministry and the Chinese Government, in the construction of a facility for early childhood education and early childhood diagnosis of special needs, at the Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College in Montego Bay, beginning next year.

The gala event was held under the theme: ‘Jamaica: Removing Barriers…Creating Access’ and was a joint collaboration of the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities, an agency of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, and the Consul General of Jamaica to Toronto, Canada.

Reproduced from http://www.jis.gov.jm/news/leads/32360