Gov't pushes to advance disability agenda
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security Colette Roberts Risden has underscored the Government's commitment to advancing the country's disability agenda.
In addition to the passage of the Disabilities Act, she noted that a working group had been created "as a demonstration of the commitment to the transformation process and to making the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) the strong and effective organisation, it needs to be to carry out the mandate of the act".
Roberts Risden was speaking at the Stakeholders Consultation for the Disability Sector Communication Strategy held at the ministry's North Street offices in Kingston recently.
She said the country is moving towards achieving full integration and non-discrimination against persons with disabilities (PWDs) but added that the process would take some time.
"I know that you have all been waiting for this a long time, but change takes time, and transition is a process. I need you, therefore, to understand that things will not happen all at once," she said.
CRAFTING COMMUNICATION STRATEGY
The stakeholders' consultation, hosted by the JCPD, was aimed at crafting a communication strategy to guide how the agency speaks to the public regarding disability matters.
Roberts Risden called for continued collaboration between state and non-governmental agencies in enhancing communication with PWDs.
"Even with a communication plan in place, it will not be easy for the JCPD to achieve the goal of educating the public on its own. A collaborative approach is vital, and this unity is desirable since we are all dealing with the same persons in the same community," she added.
Executive Director of the JCPD Christine Hendricks said the strategy to advance the disability agenda would be informed by the findings of the Knowledge, Attitudes, Practices and Behaviours Survey that was conducted in February.
She said the findings from the study indicate that persons "either knew very little about disabilities or heard about disabilities such a long time ago that they could not even recall hearing about it.
"They were not sure of the differences between the different disability groups and they were not certain about their capabilities. Some persons did not even understand that persons with disabilities have rights," she pointed out.