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Disabilities council to be made a body corporate

Published:Tuesday | June 25, 2019 | 12:20 AM
Dr Christine Hendricks
Dr Christine Hendricks

Executive Director of the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) Dr Christine Hendricks has said that the council is to be transitioned to a body corporate once the Disabilities Act comes into effect.

Dr Hendricks said that this transition would give the council greater autonomy to carry out its mandate of supporting and advocating on behalf of persons with disabilities.

Dr Hendricks explained that as a body corporate, the JCPD would have the power to act on cases of discrimination against persons with disabilities.

“The JCPD, currently, is a department within the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. To give us the authority and legal power we need, the JCPD cannot remain as it is, and so it has to become this body with the authority to bring to book, whether private sector or government, entities that discriminate against persons with disabilities,” she said.

Dr Hendricks further noted that in the process, there would also be a disability rights tribunal, which will hear matters of discrimination against persons with disabilities.

“The JCPD will investigate cases of discrimination that will be brought to them … and taken to the tribunal for adjudication,” she pointed out.

“We are working on a new structure that will provide us with greater resources and enable us to ensure the implementation of the Disabilities Act. The act mandates that the JCPD be established as a body corporate to ensure the implementation of the act,” the executive director said.

The Disabilities Act is complemented by the regulations and codes of practices, which are being developed by the JCPD.

The act makes provisions to safeguard and enhance the welfare of persons with disabilities across Jamaica. This legislation protects and promotes the equal rights of the disabled and prohibits discrimination against them.