Disabled urged to partner with Government
Persons with disabilities are being encouraged to partner with the Government to ensure their freedom of choice, control over their lives and to realise their full potential.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, in addressing the launch of the Cornwall Combined Disabilities Association in Montego Bay on Thursday, said persons with disabilities are more likely to be unemployed and to experience extreme deprivation than any other social group.
"The launch of this association is a significant move (that will) enable you not only to better address issues that are of particular interest to you, but will also put you in a position to better influence policy, " Ffolkes-Abrahams said.
Equality for disabled
The state minister said she was pleased with the recent passage of the Disability Act of 2014, "that will ensure that every person with a disability is treated with equality and with equity and with the same opportunities as anyone else in our society".
Ffolkes-Abrahams noted that in many cases, discrimination against persons with disabilities is taken for granted and occurs at various levels of the society and with impunity.
"We are moving to make this a thing of the past. One of the provisions of the Disabilities Act, therefore, is the prohibition of discrimination and removal of barriers in education and training, employment, political office and public life, health care, housing and transportation," she stated.
She lauded the efforts of Senate President Floyd Morris and Minister of Labour and Social Security Derrick Kellier, in the passage of the Disabilities Act, which she said is creating an enabling environment in which persons with disabilities can integrate into, and participate in all aspects of society.
She called on public- and private-sector organisations to actively facilitate the changes that the Disabilities Act is seeking to create, such as redesigning buildings to facilitate ease of access and usage to persons with disabilities.