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JIS News

One month after the launch of the toll free line for persons with disabilities, the Executive Director for the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD), Ransford Wright, has reported minimal usage of the telephone line.
“Since the inception of the 1-888-ENABLED toll free line, we here, at the Council, have not seen any marked improvement in the delivery of service to persons making requests through the phone line to access our services. The subscription is rather minuscule,” Mr. Wright said.
He made this disclosure during an interview with JIS News today (September 16), at the Council’s headquarters in Kingston.
Mr. Wright attributed the low usage of the line to the cost involved to persons utilising it, who mainly use cell phones. “The reason for the low subscription is when they use their cell phones to call the toll free line, they are using their credit. The only way it will be free is if they have a land line, but not many persons have a landline. Most of the persons who are calling use their cell phones,” he pointed out.
According to Mr. Wright, the Council is trying to encourage persons to use the toll free line, and has been pursuing initiatives to this end.
“We want to ensure that persons, who are in need of the Council’s assistance, will be able to make contact. So what we have done is to print the number on pens, and we are now issuing them to persons so [that] they can give them to their friends and families, so that the message can be passed on. Although the lines are costly, we still think that it should be utilised; so with this initiative, we are fostering its usage,” he emphasised.
The toll free line, 1-888-ENABLED (1- 888-362-2533), was launched by the Minister of State for Labour and Social Security, Andrew Gallimore, on August 12, this year. It was launched simultaneously with one established for senior citizens. However, unlike the seniors, the disabled community has not been utilising the system.
Mr. Wright was not able to say what percentage of persons make use of the line. However, he indicated that those who called the line enquired about the services that the Council offers, as well as made requests for rehabilitation grants, school fees, and exams fees, among other things.