Disabled community making significant contribution to creative industries — Grange

Friday, March 16, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, has lauded the disabled community for its contribution to Jamaica's rich cultural industry.

“People with disabilities are making a significant contribution to the cultural and creative industries. The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) has a strong track record of engaging people with disabilities in its annual competitions and celebratory events,” she noted.

She said that more must be done to promote increased participation and provide greater reward for these cultural artisans.

“Moving forward, we must ensure that members of the disabled community are able to participate in the cultural and creative industries and to reap the economic benefits from their creations,” she said.

The minister, who was addressing a Regional Disability Studies Conference at the University of the West Indies' (UWI) Regional Headquarters in St Andrew earlier this week, said the Government is committed to facilitating full participation by persons with disabilities in sports and the creative industries.

“I have a mandate to remove the barriers that prevent them from participating, and enable them to unlock their vast potential,” she said.

She noted that the National Sports Policy, which promotes “sports for all', provides the framework for the participation of all Jamaicans, disabled or otherwise, in all forms of physical activity.

Grange noted that key to achieving inclusiveness is increasing the number of coaches and other technical personnel specialising in areas that will support the mobilisation and participation of people with disabilities.

Opposition spokesperson on Sport, Natalie Neita Headley, who brought greetings at the event, said Jamaica can only achieve its goal of national development as set out in Vision 2030, when opportunities for advancement are provided for every Jamaican, including persons with disabilities

“Participation by persons with disabilities in sports and culture is very important. One of the biggest problems facing persons with a disability is not the disability itself. Rather, it is the lack of opportunity that is the biggest stumbling block,” she argued.

The two-day conference, organised by the Centre for Disability Studies (UWICDS) on the Mona campus, focused on the contribution of persons with disabilities in sports and culture in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.

It covered a range of topics, among them Employment Participation and Entrepreneurship Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities; Sports Management and Commercialisation; and Culture and Sports Inclusion and Access for persons with Disabilities.

Under the theme 'Enhancing the Disability Agenda through Sports and Culture in the Caribbean,' the event featured presentations from Director of the centre, Senator Dr Floyd Morris, as well as several private- and public-sector entities on sport and cultural management.

These include Mona School of Business and Management, Jamaica Visually Impaired Cricket Association, Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities, and Digicel Foundation.

This is the third staging of the biennial Regional Disability Studies Conference, which started in 2009 to conduct research training, public education and advocacy for persons with disabilities in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

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