Social security ministry committed to empowering Jamaica’s disabled community

Chief Technical Officer in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Dionne Jennings, addresses the media launch of the Family Expo and Special Needs Resource Fair, in Nain, St. Elizabeth, on November 1. She spoke on behalf of State Minister in the Ministry, Zavia Mayne. (Photo: Garwin Davis, JIS)

Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Zavia Mayne, says the Government remains committed to providing critical social interventions to empower and improve the independence of persons with disabilities.

In his message – read by the ministry’s Chief Technical Officer Dionne Jennings – at the media launch of the Family Expo and Special Needs Resource Fair, in Nain, St. Elizabeth on Friday (Nov 1), Mayne said that is done through the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD).

The junior minister pointed out that the JCPD is set to transition to a body corporate/public body.

“We anticipate expanded scope, breadth, functions, and services of the JCPD and, as such, the Council must be prepared and properly outfitted for this new role,” he noted.

“The JCPD has now finalised the Operational Procedures Manual for their suite of services. The Accessibility Manual obtained from the Access Board in Washington DC is being adopted and reconciled with the measurements specified in the Jamaican Building Code. The document has been subsequently sent to the Bureau of Standards for finalisation,” he added. 

Mayne, however, cautioned that the push for inclusion and accessibility cannot be the responsibility of the Government or the ministry alone, but rather through a collaborative effort, which “will allow us together to achieve our goal” of inclusion.

The state minister said it is his hope that all citizens of Jamaica will get on board the movement towards inclusion and accessibility, adding that it is in this vein that he is urging the business sector, churches, community of persons with disabilities, schools, community-based groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), to give support to the success of sharing and taking responsibility for the message of inclusion in the Disabilities Act.

He noted that while National Disabilities Awareness Day is celebrated internationally, Jamaica, since 1992, observes not just the international day, but also National Disabilities Week.

The celebrations, he said, brings about the observance of the day, which aims to promote a better understanding of disability issues as well as to mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.

“It also seeks to increase awareness of the gains to be derived from the inclusion of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life,” the state minister said.

⁠— JIS