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Speech
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Labour and Social Security, the Hon. Derrick Kellier.

Statement by the Hon. Derrick Kellier, CD, MP,

Minister of Labour, Social Security, Agriculture and Fisheries

 

On the robbery at gunpoint of a female member of the community of persons with disabilities of her motorized wheelchair

I join all well thinking Jamaicans in strongly condemning the recent robbery at gun point on Spanish Town Road – and in broad daylight – of the motorised wheelchair that was being used by Miss Coretta Vincent to move about and to execute her lawful business as she seeks to provide for her family.

Nothing can justify this act of robbery against a member of the disabled community at gun point. It is, without doubt, a vile and dastardly act. It is, furthermore, symptomatic of the low level of immorality to which some in the society have sunk; and we must resist this trend at all cost.

We in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security – which has direct portfolio responsibility for the disabled – are deeply saddened and disgusted by this most egregious occurrence, and stand ready to assist Ms. Vincent in whatever way possible to stabilize her life after her horrific ordeal.

The robbery confirms for us the critical importance to the nation and the disabled community, of the recent passage in the Parliament of the national Disabilities Act 2014, which eschews in no uncertain terms all acts of discrimination and insensitivity perpetrated against persons with disabilities. It encourages a change in attitude towards persons who are disabled.

In light of this, I wish to encourage those with information about this crime, or who know the whereabouts of the wheel chair, to contact the nearest police station or the Ministry of Labour and Social Security immediately.

In addition, I am appealing to my fellow Jamaicans to graciously extend to persons with disabilities in the society the respect they deserve, and to patriotically open to them doors of opportunities previously closed to enable them, like Miss Vincent, to contribute meaningfully to the growth and development of the society.

As a person with disability, Miss Vincent was not sitting idly by seeking hand-outs or special treatment. By her deeds, she simply wants equal rights and justice.

The National Disabilities Act 2014 guarantees all members of the disabled community equality and protection before the law; equal rights; and the enhancement of their humanity.

I am, therefore, calling on all Jamaicans to familiarise themselves with the new Disabilities Act 2014 as we unite as a society to fight vigorously for the defence of the rights of the disabled.

 

–         Hon. Derrick Kellier, CD, MP

Minister of Labour, Social Security, Agriculture and Fisheries