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Toll free numbers have been provided by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, to help senior citizens and persons with disabilities, to access assistance from anywhere in the island.
State Minister in the Ministry, Andrew Gallimore, officially launched the toll free numbers – 1 888-SENIORS and 1 888-ENABLED – at the National Centre for Senior Citizens (NCSC), located at 11 West King’s House Road, yesterday (August 12).
The toll free numbers are expected to act as a vehicle, through which senior citizens and persons with disabilities will have direct access to the necessary services being offered.
“We are launching these toll free numbers, which will enable persons with disabilities or persons who live close to persons with disabilities or senior citizens, who see that they are in need of attention, who see that they are falling below the acceptable line, to be able to contact the Council and identify these persons, so that the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, from the Board of Supervision or from any other relevant agency of Government, will be able to go and assess the situation of these individuals and ensure that they receive whatever form of assistance they need,” Mr. Gallimore said.
The State Minister pointed out that a comprehensive database would be put in place to identify all persons with disabilities and all senior citizens across the island.
He said that persons with disabilities have sacrificed much to train and certify themselves for work, and that the Ministry would be using the opportunity to register persons with disabilities, who have prepared themselves for the workforce. He added that everything would be done to place them in jobs.
“We recognise that for a very long time, some of the initiatives have been focussed on the Corporate Area and we recognise that Jamaica is not Kingston and St. Andrew, it is the entire island and the entire island has senior citizens that need to be in touch with the National Council for Senior Citizens. We also have persons with disabilities, who need to be in touch with the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities,” the State Minister said.
Mr. Gallimore said this initiative would bridge the gap, where a number of seniors and persons with disabilities, are unable to travel to the relevant offices to deal with issues related to their pensions, healthcare, job opportunities and other matters of concern.
“The bottom line is that both the National Council for Senior Citizens and the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities, will be acting as advocates, trying in all ways to assist them in reaching their goals. This administration is committed to providing resources for both these vulnerable groups,” he said.
Executive Director, Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities, Ransford Wright, said that “the notion of persons with disabilities and senior citizens is often met with negativity from people, even family and friends.”
He said that the toll free lines are in response to the cries of the Council, on behalf of senior citizens and persons with disabilities.