Pearnel Charles Jr.
By Halshane Burke
The government has launched the accessibility checklist to advance inclusivity of persons with disabilities.
The launch coincides with this week's observance of Disabilities Awareness Week.
Minister of Labour and Social Security Pearnel Charles Jr. said the checklist is a guide to increase awareness of architectural, structural and communication barriers which prevent full access to facilities by persons with disabilities.
He added that it further provides instructions on the implementation of additional elements that will facilitate the inclusion and functioning of members of the group in spaces where they previously had challenges.
"The accessibility checklist is not intended to replace compliance with the National Building Codes. Instead, it serves as a companion tool designed to heighten awareness among those entrusted with the planning and development of our buildings and facilities to ensure that the needs of individuals with disabilities across the country is taken into full account in the design of our buildings. Our public buildings must now include essential features such as ramps, rails, elevators and other necessary accommodations to facilitate full access," Mr. Charles said.
The checklist was adapted from the United States of America's Access Board and is the result of a partnership between the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities and the Bureau of Standards, Jamaica.