December 11, 2017

JCPD and British Council host Summit Nov. 29

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By Denise Dennis From JIS

Story Highlights

  • The Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) has partnered with the to host an Inclusion and Diversity Summit on Wednesday (November 29) that will explore the economic and social value of making Kingston a more inclusive city for disabled persons.
  • Executive Director of the JCPD, , told JIS News that the Summit is the first in a three-part conversation, to include policymakers and stakeholders examining the importance of transforming Kingston into an inclusive city for locals and visitors.
  • Ms. Jacobs-Bonnick said recommendations out of the Summit will be used to inform discussions at a follow-up summit in early 2018. This will be used to establish the specific steps to implement measures for improving inclusion. A public forum will then be held to highlight the interventions identified in the previous activities

The Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) has partnered with the British Council to host an Inclusion and Diversity Summit on Wednesday (November 29) that will explore the economic and social value of making Kingston a more inclusive city for disabled persons.

The event will serve as the climax in a series of activities to observe from November 26 to December 3.

Executive Director of the JCPD, Christine Hendricks, told JIS News that the Summit is the first in a three-part conversation, to include policymakers and stakeholders examining the importance of transforming Kingston into an inclusive city for locals and visitors.

She said the Summit will highlight the concept of the ‘purple economy’, which involves the potential economic contribution of the disabled community when they are adequately accommodated to be able to participate in society and economic activities.

The Summit will be used to look at the best practices in the United Kingdom (), which has adopted the concept and taken steps to become more inclusive.

Director of the British Council, Caribbean, Olayinka Jacobs-Bonnick, said the Summit is a form of policy dialogue to examine the role of inclusion and diversity in the city, particularly through infrastructure.

“Looking at Kingston through an inclusive lens, we assess why it is important for Kingston as a city to also be an inclusive city. There are already steps that have been taken, advocacy and a Disabilities Act, but in our Summit we will be looking at all of the different activities and programmes that have already taken place and figure out what are the difficulties,” she said.

“We will also be looking at the best practices we get from the UK or share with the UK, and what are the next steps,” she said in an interview with JIS News at a Monday Exchange at the UK High Commission on November 27.

Ms. Jacobs-Bonnick said recommendations out of the Summit will be used to inform discussions at a follow-up summit in early 2018. This will be used to establish the specific steps to implement measures for improving inclusion. A public forum will then be held to highlight the interventions identified in the previous activities.

A road map developed through partnership with UK and local stakeholders will be presented at the forum. After incorporating feedback from this engagement, it will be handed over to the municipality.

“As the British Council, what we are interested in doing is pulling opportunities for next steps out of that road map that will enable us to incorporate a programme in collaboration with the city of Kingston, the disabilities sector and the Government, to support the implementation of the road map,” she explained.

Ms. Jacobs-Bonnick said the British Council is looking at putting in place a three-year programme to include projects and activities that support Kingston in becoming a more inclusive city.

Equality and Inclusion Consultant from the UK, Haqeeq Bostan, will be the keynote speaker at the event and will explore ways in which Jamaica can take advantage of the purple economy.

“I am here to see how we can lend some of the experiences that we have had developing an inclusive society in the UK. It’s an ambitious plan to build Kingston as a modern inclusive place that the world wants to come to, and in building that vision, you have to get people to buy into it. We think that one way of doing that is through (making) the economic case,” he said.

Other activities for Disabilities Awareness Week include public education activities in schools, non-governmental organisations and hospitals across the island; and a church service on International Day for Persons with Disabilities on December 3.

The theme for the observance is ‘Transformation towards a Sustainable and Resilient Society for All’.

 IMAGE: Photo: JIS PhotographerMinister of State in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Fayval Williams (centre), in conversation with Director, British Council, Caribbean, Olayinka Jacobs-Bonnick (left) and Equality and Inclusion Consultant, United Kingdom, Haqeeq Bostan (right), at a Monday Exchange at the UK High Commission on November 27.
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