Persons with disabilities share the same human, civil, political, social and cultural rights as any other citizen. Therefore, it is necessary that they receive equal access to health care, education, income, and any other facility which would enable them to reach their maximum potential.
This was underscored by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Ernesta Drakes, as she delivered remarks at a Flea Market and Fun Day which was held at the Bay Street Esplanade to mark International Day of the Disabled, on Tuesday.
In affirming her Ministry???s commitment to developing policies and programmes to empower and protect persons with disabilities, the Permanent Secretary made reference to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was ratified on February 27 this year.
???I wish to assure all present that my Ministry intends to honour its responsibilities under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by promoting, protecting and ensuring the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all Persons with Disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity,??? Ms. Drakes stated.
Alluding to the theme of the Day, Break Barriers, Open Doors; For an Inclusive Society for All, the Permanent Secretary pointed out that corrective measures were being taken to alleviate the barriers with which persons with disabilities were faced.
???The issue of accessibility has traditionally been the most visible barrier affecting Persons with Disabilities. We intend to continue to address this matter as a priority??? In addition to those relating to the physical environment, barriers can also exist in the area of information and communications technology (ICT), or those resulting from legislation or policy, or from societal attitudes or acts of discrimination. As a Government, we are cognisant of the prejudice which this presents,??? Ms. Drakes pointed out.
Meanwhile, Special Envoy for Persons with Disabilities, Roslyn Hurley, reiterated the Permanent Secretary???s sentiments, and stated: ???There are still many barriers that must be broken down.???
On behalf of the disabled community, she affirmed that they too wanted to make a meaningful contribution to society, but needed more access to the necessary amenities.
???We need access to health insurance; more fully accessible government transportation; legislation to cover disabled persons??? parking and a fully accessible Disability Unit,??? the Special Envoy asserted.
Expressing the hope that their willingness to be included in society would be seen through ventures such as the Flea Market, Ms. Hurley stated: ???We want to achieve; we want to be successful and we are willing to work towards our goals.???