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  • The Government will ensure that the provisions contained in the Disabilities Act are fully implemented in order to provide greater protection for members of the disabled community against all forms of discrimination.
  • Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, gave the assurance as he addressed the Jamaica Inclusive Education Conference at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James on October 27.
  • He said with the passage of the Act last year, the 400,000-strong disability community can be assured of full participation in all areas of national life.

The Government will ensure that the provisions contained in the Disabilities Act are fully implemented in order to provide greater protection for members of the disabled community against all forms of discrimination.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, gave the assurance as he addressed the Jamaica Inclusive Education Conference at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James on October 27.

He said with the passage of the Act last year, the 400,000-strong disability community can be assured of full participation in all areas of national life.

“The new Disabilities Act 2014 covers the integration and inclusion of persons with disabilities in all areas of national life including education, employment, health, housing, transportation and much more. With the Disabilities Act 2014 firmly in place, the progress of members of our native disability community as citizens of Jamaica is now fully guaranteed,” he said.

Minister Kellier noted that the Act had bipartisan support, and its passage into law has added significance to the positive contributions that disabled persons can make to the society.

“We were …guided by common sense, compassion and a collective willingness to include, rather than exclude members of the disabled community from the exciting process of national development…this progressive piece of legislation actually delivers on the promise …to put effective measures in place that will assist greatly, going forward, in lifting members of the disabled community upwards,” he said.

The Disabilities Act, which is awaiting enforcement into law, seeks to reinforce and promote the recognition and acceptance, within Jamaica, of the principle that a person with a disability has the same fundamental rights as any other person; and promote individual dignity and autonomy, including the freedom of choice and independence of a person with a disability.

The legislation will facilitate the transformation of the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) into a corporate body, which will be overseen by a fully functional board of management.

This will ensure that laws under the Disabilities Act will be strictly enforced and persons found to be in contravention “will be made to feel the punishment in their pockets.”

“What this means, in effect, is that going forward in Jamaica…those who contravene and disobey the laws under the new Disabilities Act 2014 will be penalised in monetary terms. We have no intention as a Government of relenting in our pursuit of concentrating on the abilities and potential of adults and, in particular, children with disabilities,” the Minister said.