JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Office of the Public Defender (OPD) is inviting members of the public to attend consultation sessions across the island to discuss the National Disabilities Bill recently tabled in Parliament.
  • The sessions will begin in Kingston at the Jamaica Bar Association, 78 - 80 Harbour Street on June 5 beginning at 11:00am.
  • The National Disabilities Bill seeks to make provisions to safeguard and enhance the welfare of persons with disabilities.

The Office of the Public Defender (OPD) is inviting members of the public to attend consultation sessions across the island to discuss the National Disabilities Bill recently tabled in Parliament.

The sessions will begin in Kingston at the Jamaica Bar Association, 78 – 80 Harbour Street on June 5 beginning at 11:00am.

The National Disabilities Bill seeks to make provisions to safeguard and enhance the welfare of persons with disabilities and the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) wants persons to come forward to give their feedback on the proposed legislation.

In an interview with JIS News, Acting Public Defender, Matondo Mukulu, said his office has the responsibility, which is outlined in the Public Defender (Interim) Act, to make legislative proposals to the Executive body and will be doing so.

“We have a few challenges with the Bill and would like to bring it to the attention of the public. One of our primary concerns is the need for a register to be kept by the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities,” the Acting Public Defender said.

Mr. Mukulu explained that the Bill leaves room for an entity to use the absence of someone’s name from the list as a defence when action is brought against them.

He pointed out however, that it is a very important piece of legislation and lauded the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier for taking it to Parliament.

“We are hoping that when we make our voices and position known, that those who are responsible for the carriage of the Bill, especially the Minister of Labour and Social Security, will take on board some of these concerns highlighted,” he said.

“Following this final session and when all the views of the public is gathered, we will be submitting a paper to the Minister, expecting that he will take some of our recommendations on board as the Bill goes through Parliament,” the Acting Public Defender said.