JIS News

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security is moving to improve employment opportunities for the disabled through a number of measures, including the implementation of a registry, hotline and legislation.
According to the State Minister, Andrew Gallimore the aim of the registry is to have a record of qualified persons within the disabled community, while the hotline is geared at facilitating the concerns of disabled persons.
“We are going to be setting up a registry of disabled persons [so that] persons, who have prepared themselves well to make a contribution can be given a job, and a hotline that any concerned citizen or family member can call,” he explained in an interview with JIS News.
He stated that one of his main concerns for the disabled community is that they are not being employed although they are trained. “What is concerning me is that when persons are trained in different areas, they are not being absorbed into the job market. When we look at persons, who have disabilities, they have a tremendous contribution that they can make to the growth and development of the country. What we need to do is to get them acting in the workforce as much as is possible,” he said.
The State Minister, who has responsibility for persons with disabilities within the Ministry, last week appointed a new advisory board for the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD).
Mr. Gallimore said he is pleased with the composition of the new board, which is appointed every two years, as it included several persons with disabilities. “In a sense, there is a balance, so that the views that are there are well weighed,” he noted.
He informed that for this year, the JCPD will be looking to significantly increase opportunities for persons with disabilities. “We want to play the role in identifying those persons who are qualified and then we are going to be taking a targeted approach to get them placed in the public sector and the private sector,” he said.
In terms of penalizing persons, who discriminate against the disabled, the State Minister disclosed that legislation will come into force soon to deal with the issue. He noted however that legislation, by itself, will not solve the problem.
“If you have 100 jobs and a person with a disability applies, it is going to be difficult even if there is legislation to determine the basis on which they were or were not selected, because there are many applicants,” Mr. Gallimore pointed out.
He said that the public must be educated about the disabled community, as a disabled person can contribute to the growth and development of the country. “What we need to do is to educate the public, create a paradigm shift, get people to understand that if they were to become disabled tomorrow or if a member of their family was to become disabled, let them reflect on how they would want to be treated,” he said. Over time, Mr. Gallimore reasoned, this will reduce the myths and beliefs that now exist about the abilities of the disabled.

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