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Minister of Labour and Social Security, Horace Dalley has called on employers within the private and public sectors to share the national vision of incorporating more disabled persons in the general workforce.
“It is only through constant dialogue that we can discuss the integration of disabled persons in the workforce,” Minister Dalley said.
He was speaking at the launch of Enable ’05, an employment fair for persons with disabilities, which opened on July 13 at the Chinese Benevolent Association Auditorium on Old Hope Road in Kingston. The Minister informed that the government fully supported the employment of disabled persons and had instituted a policy, whereby 5 per cent of jobs in the public sector, must be reserved for these persons. He said his Ministry, in support of the initiative, had set aside a certain number of jobs for disabled persons and called on other government agencies to do likewise.
“It is a human right,” Mr. Dalley noted, citing the 1948 United Nations Charter, which supported the employment of disabled persons within the general workforce.
Governor General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Howard Cooke, who opened the fair, also supported the call for more disabled persons to be incorporated into the workforce. “We must do away with our prejudices and make opportunities to employ persons with disabilities,” he stated.
Sir Howard further called for a decline in the negative attitudes of employers to disabled people, adding that persons with disabilities were some of the most skilled and resourceful persons within the workforce. “Treat the disabled with compassion, do not pity them; we must show them love and let them know we will help them to achieve,” he stressedState Minister for Labour and Social Security, Senator Floyd Morris, who is visually impaired, also charged business owners to employ the disabled as they not only possessed the requisite skills for jobs, but they also provide a source of inspiration for their “able bodied” colleagues.
“Employ more disabled and you will see the benefits. The disabled are ready to ride the tide and rise to the occasion,” he stated.
The fair is being held under the theme ‘Empowering persons with disabilities through an inclusive work force .how prepared are you?” and continues today at 10:00 a.m.