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The Ministry of Labour and Social Security(MLSS) on Wednesday (April 8) handed over cheques, valued at approximately $600,000, to five persons with disabilities to help start their own small businesses under the Economic Enablement project
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Andrew Gallimore, said that the initiative is part of a $15 million grant from the Government to help persons with disabilities become more self sufficient.
“It is truly a happy occasion, which will help these individuals become fully integrated into society and even more self sufficient,” he asserted.
Prime Minister Hon. Bruce Golding last year made a provision of over $15 million for persons with disabilities. Of that amount, $10 million was set aside to help with economic enablement projects and $5 million to help with adaptive aids.
According to Mr. Gallimore, approximately 250 persons have already been approved for benefits.
“Several hundred applications have come in and, so far, little over 250 have been approved for benefit and 135, including yourselves, have physically gotten the benefit today,” he said in support of his argument that the programme is “working well.”
He urged the recipients to spend the cheques wisely and ensure that it impact their lives.
“These are very tough economic times, and persons with disabilities have been using some of these funds to get into agriculture and vending and they have been uplifting themselves, so do the same,” he urged.
In endorsing the minister’s sentiment, chairperson for the National Advisory Board for persons with disabilities, Dr. Patricia Dunwell, encouraged the recipients to make good use of the funds.
“The committee has been working very hard to ensure that the funds reach as many persons as possible, and to choose the right persons. We are hoping that you will make very good use of it and to multiply,” she encouraged.
Executive Director of the Council for Persons with Disabilities, Ransford Wright, reported that some of the 250 persons who have already received funding are doing well with their businesses.
“We are truly happy to say that persons who have received the grants are doing well. Last week Thursday, I visited persons in Portland to see how they were doing and we were very happy with the success stories that we saw. We know that persons will have challenges, but we are encouraging you to get your financial plans in place and come to the Council and you can get further advice, because we want to see that you are a success,” he advised.

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