JIS News

Approximately 150 persons with disabilities from Western Jamaica, participated in the first in a series of three public regional consultations on the National Disability Act, at the St. James Parish Church Hall in Montego Bay, on (July 19)
The day’s activities included presentations and workshops on the formulation of the National Disability Act (2007), covering topics such as the purpose, content and structure of the Act; interpretation, implications and insight into legal terminologies; employment, accessibility, health care, education, and enforcement.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Senator Floyd Morris, who gave the main address at the forum, expressed the view that the event was a mark of progress being made towards draft legislation. He added that the process is also indicative of the Government’s commitment to empowering the disabled through legislation.
He emphasized that national consultation is an integral part of the legislative process aimed at securing public contribution and participation. The second regional consultation on the Act is scheduled for Wednesday, July 24, at the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) in Mandeville, while the third will be held on Tuesday, July 31, at the Girl Guides Association of Jamaica, in Kingston.
“This is your opportunity to state what it is that you would want to see included in the National Disability Act,” Senator Morris told the gathering.
“Don’t leave here today and go back into your towns and in your homes and grumble and say the government isn’t doing anything for the disabled when you get an opportunity now to put your concerns on the table, because we are drafting a legislation that is designed to protect the rights and dignity of the disabled,” he stated.
The State Minister said that the commitment to protecting the disabled was further exhibited in the signing and ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of the Rights and Dignity of persons with Disabilities. Jamaica was the first country to do so.
He urged the wider society to treat the disabled with dignity and allow them the same opportunities as everyone else.
“Some discriminate against the disabled in terms of employment, some discriminate in terms of access to their facilities, some discriminate in terms of access to education. when we put in place the National Disability Act, woe be unto the man or the woman who violates the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities”, he said to loud applause.
He added that due haste is being made to ensure that the legislation comes to fruition soon.

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