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Story Highlights

  • Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson, says the Ministry is giving priority to the welfare and advancement of persons with disabilities.
  • In her message, read by the Ministry’s Chief Technical Director, Dionne Jennings, at the official opening of the Montego Bay Learning Centre in Catherine Hall, St. James, on September 21, she applauded the commitment of the Digicel Foundation in advancing the cause of persons with special needs.
  • Mrs. Robinson commended the Foundation for partnering with the Government, through the Ministry and the Jamaica Association for Intellectual Disabilities, “in renovating this Centre of Excellence for Jamaica’s special needs community.”

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson, says the Ministry is giving priority to the welfare and advancement of persons with disabilities.

In her message, read by the Ministry’s Chief Technical Director, Dionne Jennings, at the official opening of the Montego Bay Learning Centre in Catherine Hall, St. James, on September 21, she applauded the commitment of the Digicel Foundation in advancing the cause of persons with special needs.

The centre has been established under the Digicel Foundation Centre of Excellence Programme.

“These are exciting times for persons with disabilities in Jamaica and this event is a testament and indication that things and times have changed for persons with disabilities,” the Minister said.

“It is exciting that the disability focus is shifting from rehabilitation and treatment to positive integration and action. It is marvellous that disability issues are being discussed openly within a framework of anticipation and expectation, and it is important that persons with disabilities are being encouraged to move from welfare and dependence to empowerment,” she added.

Mrs. Robinson commended the Foundation for partnering with the Government, through the Ministry and the Jamaica Association for Intellectual Disabilities, “in renovating this Centre of Excellence for Jamaica’s special needs community.”

She said the opening of the centre will go a far way in helping to decentralise the services of the Early Stimulation Programme (ESP) in the western part of the island, especially for those who would rather not travel to Kingston.

“The ESP is crucial to the effectiveness of early intervention programmes to develop the abilities of children with disabilities from birth up to six years. Each of these little ones has a hope and a future which when fulfilled, can be translated into a brighter tomorrow for everyone,” the Minister emphasised.

The ESP provides early intervention, assessment and support to children with disabilities and their families islandwide, and incorporates beneficiaries under the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), Mrs. Robinson noted.

The Minister pointed out that the ESP Assessment Centre at Hanover Street, Kingston, is currently under reconstruction at an estimated cost of $66 million to house a multi-purpose facility. It is expected to be completed soon.

“We at the Ministry hope that the leadership, best practices, and support to be provided at this centre will lay the foundation for greater growth and success,” Mrs. Robinson said.