Home Caribbean JCPD Launches Public Education Campaign

JCPD Launches Public Education Campaign

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Photo: Donald De La Haye Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson (second right), listens as Opposition Senator, Dr. Floyd Morris (second left), reads a copy of the Disabilities Act written in Braille. They were at the launch of the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) public education campaign which aims to promote awareness on disability-related matters, the functions of the agency, and the Disabilities Act. The launch was held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, today (November 9). Others (from left) are Member of the Board of Management for JCPD, Alister McLean; Executive Director of the JCPD, Christine Hendricks and Chairman of the Board of Management, JCPD, Dr. Patricia Holness.

Story Highlights

  • The Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) has launched its public education campaign, which aims to promote awareness of disability-related matters, the functions of the agency, and the Disabilities Act.
  • For her part, Executive Director, JCPD, Christine Hendricks, noted that a KABP Study conducted in Jamaica in 2015 in 1,500 households and a targeted supplementary survey of 600 key stakeholders, revealed that less than 30 per cent said they knew anything about disabilities, with even less claiming knowledge about the Disabilities Act itself.
  • She added that as part of the JCPD three-year communication plan, “we are showcasing the beginning of the new face of the JCPD with our new logo, our first website and other collateral materials that will be utilised to make the public and persons with disabilities (PWDs) more aware of the inclusion of PWDs as rightful citizens of our country”.

The Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) has launched its public education campaign, which aims to promote awareness of disability-related matters, the functions of the agency, and the Disabilities Act.

Delivering the keynote address at the launch held at the Jamaica Conference Centre today (November 9), Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson, said even though the society has been growing in its appreciation of persons with disabilities, many persons are still unaware of the tremendous potential of this community.

“Without relevant knowledge and information, one may be prone to make errors or misrepresent the intentions of the provisions of the Disabilities Act. In an effort to avoid that, this campaign will begin informing the public on the rights of persons with disabilities, and the role of the JCPD as it transitions to become the body corporate as outlined in the Act,” Mrs. Robinson said.

She argued that the Act is an important building block, pursuant to the Government creating an environment whereby all citizens will be able to participate and benefit from all the resources available on an equal basis.

“In its emphasis on equal opportunities, it is an endeavour for providing the legislative framework for persons with disabilities to learn and earn, to increase productivity, efficiency and competitiveness. It is a plan for grooming future leaders in families, business and community development. It will remove old barriers and level the playing field for all,” Mrs. Robinson said.

She further urged the business sector, churches, schools and non-governmental organisations to give their full support to the success of sharing and taking responsibility for the message of the Disabilities Act.

Meanwhile, the Minister said the JCPD is in the process of drafting the first two of the Codes of Practice for the disabled community, which should be finalised and ready by mid-2018.

“Our valued stakeholders will be engaged in viewing these codes to ensure we understand clearly how to include persons with disabilities in education and training, and the ever-important employment,” Mrs. Robinson said.

She added that over time, the other five codes will be prepared, so that all areas of the Act will be understood by the ordinary Jamaican.

“In an effort to fast-track the process and effectively execute the provisions of the Disabilities Act, the services of a consultant to develop the new organisational structure will be engaged,” she noted.

For her part, Executive Director, JCPD, Christine Hendricks, noted that a KABP Study conducted in Jamaica in 2015 in 1,500 households and a targeted supplementary survey of 600 key stakeholders, revealed that less than 30 per cent said they knew anything about disabilities, with even less claiming knowledge about the Disabilities Act itself.

“It means we have much work to accomplish. And so, today’s launch is an exciting milestone for us at the JCPD and others who have longed for this day, as years of hard work have paid off,” Mrs. Hendricks said.

She added that as part of the JCPD three-year communication plan, “we are showcasing the beginning of the new face of the JCPD with our new logo, our first website and other collateral materials that will be utilised to make the public and persons with disabilities (PWDs) more aware of the inclusion of PWDs as rightful citizens of our country”.

The Disabilities Act seeks to reinforce and promote the recognition and acceptance, within Jamaica, of the principle that a person with a disability has the same fundamental rights as any other person, and promote individual dignity and autonomy, including the freedom of choice and independence of a person with a disability.

The legislation will facilitate the transformation of the JCPD into a corporate body, which will be overseen by a fully functional Board of Management.

The JCPD is the entity charged with the responsibility to promote, protect and ensure the full enjoyment by persons with disabilities of privileges, interests, benefits and treatment, on an equal basis with others.

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