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  • In light of the passage of the Disabilities Act, the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) is urging persons with disabilities to become registered members.
  • Other benefits include therapy sessions, concessionary bus fares with the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) and income tax exemptions in specific cases.
  • Currently, the JCPD has in the region of 27,000 registered members. However, figures from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica reveal that there are approximately 785,000 Jamaicans living with a form of disability.

In light of the recent passage of the Disabilities Act, the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) is again urging persons with disabilities to become registered members of the Council.

Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’, today (November 19), Executive Director for the JCPD, Christine Hendricks, said many persons with disabilities are afraid of being identified, but there are numerous benefits if they get registered.

“There are economic empowerment grants that persons can get to start income generating projects. Persons can also get assistance with assistive aids, devices that can help them to function better in society,” she informed.

Presently, individuals can get up to $150,000, while groups of persons with disabilities and others without disabilities can receive up to $400,000 for their projects.

Other benefits include therapy sessions, concessionary bus fares with the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) and income tax exemptions in specific cases.

Mrs. Hendricks noted that since the discussions surrounding the Disabilities Act, more disabled persons have joined the Council, but added that the number is still only a small percentage of the total number of Jamaicans with disabilities. Part of that challenge, she noted, is the slow process at health facilities.

“Persons cannot be fully registered unless a medical report is completed and when our persons turn up at the health facilities, many times because of the stress and strain of the system, they turn away,” she said.

That challenge, she noted, has lessened since the implementation of the mandatory child health and development passport in 2010, which provides details on a child’s growth and development, including disabilities from birth to the age of 17.

In the meantime, the JCPD head said the disabled community has a variety of skills and talents that if utilized, can contribute to the economic development of the country.

Currently, the JCPD has in the region of 27,000 registered members. However, figures from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica reveal that there are approximately 785,000 Jamaicans living with a form of disability.

The JCPD is the body charged with the responsibility to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment by persons with disabilities, of privileges, interests, benefits and treatment, on equal basis with others.

 

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