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  • Executive Director of the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD), Christine Hendricks, is hailing the passage of the Disabilities Act 2014 as the most significant achievement in the Council’s 40-year history.
  • The Disabilities Act will effectively level the playing field for PWDs, and the JCPD will be empowered to make sure that the Act works for these persons.
  • Codes of Practice are being drafted to provide minimum standards by which the public will be guided on how to interact with, and allow for the participation of PWDs, and also the Regulations, which will state the penalties for discriminating against a PWD.

Executive Director of the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD), Christine Hendricks, is hailing the passage of the Disabilities Act 2014 as the most significant achievement in the Council’s 40-year history.

“The most impactful achievement is the fact that finally, the Disabilities Act has been passed in the Parliament…. the Act is here as our reality, and consultations are continuing to ensure that (it) becomes real in the life of the ordinary Person With Disability (PWDs),” said Mrs. Hendricks.

The JCPD Executive Director, who was addressing the National Church Service marking Disabilities Awareness Week 2014 on Sunday, November 30, at the Calvary Baptist Church in Montego Bay, said the Disabilities Act will effectively level the playing field for PWDs, and the JCPD will be empowered to make sure that the Act works for these persons.

She noted that the Codes of Practice are being drafted to provide minimum standards by which the public will be guided on how to interact with, and allow for the participation of PWDs, and also the Regulations, which will state the penalties for discriminating against a PWD.

She also pointed to the Disabilities Rights Tribunal, a provision of  the Disabilities Act of  2014, which she  said, will address matters of discrimination against PWDs and issues of compensation.

Mrs. Hendricks noted that the Council, through its advocacy over the years, has witnessed major improvement in public awareness and attitude towards PWDs in both the public and private sectors.

The focus, she said, has shifted from rehabilitation, to getting PWDs to become active and worthwhile citizens, who are being integrated instead of isolated.

“Disability issues are being discussed in the media on a weekly basis… (and) more institutions are showing a willingness to engage PWDs by retrofitting their spaces or wanting to know how to better accommodate PWDs,” Mrs. Hendricks noted.

Mrs. Hendricks challenged the approximately 400,000 person-strong disabled community in Jamaica, to prepare themselves to “take your rightful place in society.”

This, she said, by getting registered and ensuring that children with disabilities are identified early to allow for appropriate interventions, including assistance with appropriate devices and learning tools.

“You must take your life into your own hands … (as) equality of opportunities mean that you play your part and the rest of society play their part, so together, there will be positive achievements,” she pointed out.

Among the activities for Disabilities Awareness Week is a series of regional stakeholder consultations on the Codes of Practice and Regulations for the disability community to be held at Rex Nettleford Hall, University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus at 10:00am on Wednesday, December 3; and at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville on Thursday, December 4, starting at 9:00am.

The week will culminate with a Blind Cricket Match and Grand Concert on Saturday, December 6, at the Ultimate Cricket Ground in Discovery Bay, St. Ann starting at 11:00 am.

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