According to Dr. Morris, the Disabilities Act was passed in the Parliament in 2014 to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities in Jamaica. However, four years after the legislation has been approved by the Parliament, the Ministry of Labour has not implemented the legislation.
“This is a crucial piece of legislation that must be immediately implemented if the discrimination confronting persons with disabilities in the society are to be eradicated.” says Dr. Morris.
“The estimated population of over 400,000 persons with disabilities in the island is banking on this legislation to see improvements in their lives and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security must move with alacrity to implement the legislation.” Dr. Morris further asserts.
According to Senator Dr. Morris, the lack of implementation of the Disabilities Act is caused from the Minister of Labour and Social Security not setting the “effective date” for the legislation. Under the Disabilities Act, the Minister must set the effective date for the legislation to come into effect. However, Dr. Morris is asserting that the lack of the Codes of Practice and the Regulations to support the Act are preventing the Minister from setting the date.
According to Dr. Morris, “My understanding is that the Ministry of Labour and Social Security had contracted a consultant to prepare the Codes of Practice for education and employment. However, the Ministry has since terminated the contract due to problems with the consultant and the Codes of Practice is nowhere near completion.”
Dr. Morris is further opining that “The consultancy is being financed by grant funding from a donor agency and the window for funding the project comes to an end on August 14, 2018.” “Jamaica is in the process of losing this grant funding for this major work that is needed to implement the legislation to protect persons with disabilities,” according to Dr. Morris.
The Opposition spokesperson is therefore calling upon the Minister of Labour and Social Security and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, to tell the country why the legislation is not being implemented and if there is any truth that Jamaica is on the verge of losing grant funding to finance a major portion of the work that is needed to implement the legislation.
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