Persons with Disabilities encouraged to Access Justice Services at Kingston leg of Legal Aid Justice Fair

Kingston, Jamaica. Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in need of accessing justice and other government services are encouraged to visit the Legal Aid Council’s (LAC) Justice Fair for Persons with Disabilities being held this Friday, June 21, 2024 at the Emancipation Park, Kingston.

The event  is funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the So-Just Project. In partnership with stakeholders who work with PwDs to increase access to justice services, raise awareness about justice services available and to increase knowledge about their rights as Jamaicans.

Executive Director of the Legal Aid Council, Mrs Dian Watson, affirms why this initiative is necessary and integral to facilitate the increase of equity in the justice system.

“During our outreach engagement in  2023, there was an obvious absence of persons living with disabilities engaging with our services. We wanted to change that and sought to bring justice to them. Many PwD’s need government services but because of their challenges are often unable to easily access government entities. At the Council, we are seeking to live by our mandate of ensuring effective access to justice for all and this initiative is one of the plans being implemented in reaching the most vulnerable among us,” she said.

The first staging of the Justice Fair for Persons with Disabilities was held last December in Montego Bay and assisted over 300 persons.

“We are encouraging persons who have a disability or know of persons who are living with disabilities to visit the Emancipation Park on Friday to access the services they may have had difficulty accessing when visiting the offices of government agencies. We will have interpreters and other persons to assist those who attend. There will be over 30 government agencies such as, the National Housing Trust (NHT), Registrar General’s Department (RGD), HEART NSTA Trust and many other entities on site providing essential services to patrons,” encouraged Mrs Watson.

The LAC is a statutory entity that provides legal aid in criminal matters, to persons of small or moderate means.  In accordance with the Disabilities Act, 2014 the Council seeks to safeguard and enhance the welfare of Jamaicans living with a disability.

Patron giving the thumbs up at the inaugural Justice Fair for Persons with Disabilities held at the Harmony Beach Park in December 2023