JCPD working with OUR to improve service to the disabled

Saturday, June 23, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) is working with the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) to improve service provided by utility and telecommunications companies to consumers within the disabled community.

Executive Director of the JCPD, Dr Christine Hendricks, told JIS News that the collaboration is essential for promoting greater inclusion of these individuals in the society.

“We are aware that persons with disabilities are an underserved population in our society, and so this initiative with the OUR is welcomed by the disabled. We looked at the challenges persons with disabilities face when seeking services in these facilities and how these companies can better serve this group,” she said.

To facilitate improvement efforts, the council hosted two town hall meetings, along with representatives from the OUR and the utility companies, to discuss the challenges and develop possible solutions to better serve this group.

The first meeting was held on May 22 in Montego Bay, St James. It was attended by individuals with disabilities residing in the western section of the island.

The second meeting was held on May 29 in Kingston with representatives from the OUR, the JCPD, utility and telecommunications companies and the Office of the Cabinet. Individuals with disabilities from parishes within the central and eastern regions of the island attended the meeting.

Among the challenges outlined by them were issues of access to these facilities, inability to effectively communicate with customer service agents and limited telecommunication options for people who are visually impaired.

Some proposed solutions included establishing special desks for people with disabilities in these offices, training staff in sign language and how to assist persons with disabilities, as well as closed-captioning for telecommunications services.

“They listened to the challenges and also listened to some of the proposed solutions, some of which they admitted they would not have thought of, because persons with disabilities are usually the best people to tell you how to serve them. Out of those engagements, we had commitments for the companies to work closer with the JCPD and ensure that when persons with disabilities come into their offices, they would be better served,” she said.

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