JIS News

State Minister in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Andrew Gallimore has revealed that a sum of $15 million has been committed to the disabled community.
“This administration takes the issue of persons with disabilities very seriously. A commitment of $15 million was made by the Prime Minister to assist persons with disabilities in various ways, to deal with economic enablement projects and different health aids for the disabled,” he told JIS News in an interview. Mr. Gallimore, who has been touring various training facilities for persons with disabilities, had high praise for the infrastructure that was in place to empower the disabled. However, he said he was concerned about getting jobs for them.
“I am concerned about how demoralizing it is when somebody finishes a course and then prepares himself or herself and hits a stonewall,” the State Minister said.
For this year, Mr. Gallimore pointed out that the ministry would be taking a targeted and focused approach to getting job opportunities for persons with disabilities. The Ministry, through the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD), will be putting in place a registry for qualified persons within the disabled community, and a hotline. These two initiatives will assist the JCPD in identifying the concerns of the disabled community and will also ensure that qualified persons are readily available for the working environment.
The Ministry, through its Early Stimulation Programme (ESP) and its National Vocational Rehabilitation Services (NVRS), has sought to ensure equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Under the NVRS, disabled persons are provided with vocational and other productive opportunities, while the ESP provides professional services that will identify and assess developmental disabilities in children. The ESP caters to disabled children from birth to 9 years, while the NVRS targets adults between 18 and 59 years.
In the meantime, the JCPD has been hosting development seminars for its staff members. These seminars are sensitization workshops and according to the State Minister, they are designed to “unveil people’s eyes as to what can be achieved and what persons with disabilities can do.”
Mr. Gallimore said that one of the persons he has tremendous regard and admiration for is former State Minister in the Labour and Social Security Ministry, Senator Floyd Morris and as such is urging the disabled community to emulate him.
“This is a young man who has a disability, but he doesn’t let it get in his way. I am one who believes that in life it is not so much what happens to you, but how you deal with it. He demonstrates and he embodies what we want to get across to people, that being disabled is not the end of life or the world,” Mr. Gallimore said.

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