JIS News

Prime Minister P.J. Patterson has stated that the Government will enact a National Disability Act that will provide additional legislative support to the National Policy for the Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities. He said the country’s vision for development cannot be accomplished if persons with disabilities are not provided with opportunities for social, economic, political and cultural advancement.
“We live in an age where persons with disabilities are actively asserting their right to be provided with the facilities to allow them to develop their abilities and display their self-reliance. Disabled persons are seeking opportunities not charity,” Mr. Patterson asserted.
He was addressing a graduation exercise and prize giving ceremony of the Early Stimulation Programme for children who are mentally and physically challenged, at the St. Andrew Parish Church Hall on Wednesday (Sept. 24).
Mr. Patterson said the process must begin through the work of the Early Stimulation Programme and supported by attitudinal changes in the society, which he said was an essential part of building a more progressive, tolerant and enlightened society. He said that as part of the move to expand the special education programme, the Government would be partnering with the Mico College to train special educators to identify the special needs children who are gifted as well as those with learning disabilities, in order that they may be appropriately educated. PM promises new legislation to benefit disabled persons.2
He noted that the Government’s approach to addressing the needs of persons with disabilities was consistent with international trends and included the removal of barriers of discrimination and their social and economic empowerment, to enable them to realize their full potentials. He said issues relating to the provision of drivers’ licenses to persons who are hearing impaired were the subject of careful consideration, to ensure that a proper system was implemented for the granting of such permits in keeping with international standards and safety procedures.
Prime Minister Patterson congratulated the students, parents and staff involved in the Early Stimulation Programme, adding that the Government remains fully committed to providing the necessary resources so that early intervention in the lives of young children with special needs can enable them to contribute to the development of the Jamaican society.

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