Jamaica commits to enhancing access for the vulnerable

May 24, 2024  -Prime Minister Andrew Holness has highlighted the Jamaican government’s ongoing efforts to enhance access to services for the most vulnerable groups in society, including the poor, elderly, and disabled.

This initiative includes several key developments aimed at improving the quality of life for these groups.

Advancements in social support

One of the significant measures taken by the government is the increase in the age relief exemption for pensioners, which became effective on April 1.

Additionally, the establishment of the Social Pension Programme marks a notable stride towards supporting elderly persons who are not contributors to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).

This programme specifically targets individuals aged 75 and older, aiming to substantially improve their living standards.

National Labour Day Focus

During the 2024 National Labour Day Project held at the Institute of Jamaica in downtown Kingston, the Prime Minister emphasized the government’s focus on building infrastructure, such as ramps, to make cultural and heritage resources more accessible.

The theme for this year’s Labour Day was ‘Ramp up di access… Show that you care’, highlighting the importance of improving accessibility for persons with disabilities, the elderly, and other vulnerable groups.

Symbolic and strategic actions

The Labour Day activities are part of a broader gesture to honor the legacy of labour leaders and workers from the 1930s movement.

By constructing ramps at various facilities across the island, the government aims to ‘pay it forward’ to the elderly, disabled, and vulnerable populations.

This act also symbolizes a commitment to preserving the nation’s history and heritage at the Institute of Jamaica.

Economic improvements and initiatives

Prime Minister Holness also discussed the broader economic strides Jamaica has made, particularly in reducing unemployment to historically low levels.

With an unemployment rate of 4.2 per cent, the government celebrates this achievement as a testament to its effective policies and initiatives, including substantial investments in apprenticeship programs like the HEART NSTA/Trust and the Jamaica National Service Corps (JNSC).

National project endorsement and future plans

The leader of the opposition, Mark Golding, supported the national project, emphasizing the importance of the Institute of Jamaica as a key institution for cultural preservation.

He proposed that the country dedicate a year to enhancing access for persons with disabilities by transforming buildings and infrastructure nationwide.

Contributions from government officials

The event also saw participation from other key figures, including the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport, Olivia Grange; the Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Desmond McKenzie; the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles Jr.; and the Mayor of Kingston, who collectively echoed the sentiments of improving accessibility and supporting vulnerable communities throughout Jamaica.

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