A draft Bill which will facilitate the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is currently under consideration by Parliament.
Minister of Social Care, Steve Blackett, was addressing the annual church service to mark the Month of the Disabled when he explained that the Persons with Disabilities Bill seeks to bring even greater comfort for those in the disabled community.
“It aims to codify in law those rights to which every person with disabilities (PWD) is entitled, and to ensure that they are treated according to the international benchmarks,” he stated.
The Minister explained that the Bill will address issues such as access to public facilities and services, education, employment, cultural life, and support to ensure that any current disadvantages for the disabled community are eradicated.
He added that amendments are also being made to current legislation, among them the Road Traffic Act to address issues affecting parking for PWDs; the Employment Rights (Prevention of Discrimination) Bill, as well as the Building Standards Bill, which promotes the construction of buildings with adequate provisions for PWDs.
Mr. Blackett also acknowledged the work of the Barbados Council for the Disabled, stating that its work has made Barbadians more aware of PWDs.
“The Council boasts of a membership of 20 organisations of and for persons with disabilities, and continues to work towards improving the quality of life for the differently abled, through partnering with Governmental and Non- Governmental Agencies,” he said.
He described this year’s theme: Inclusion Matters: 40 Years Towards Access and Empowerment, as “truly fitting”, as the Council and Barbados alike have made significant strides in ensuring that PWDs in the community are fully integrated into society.
Mr. Blackett also sought to remind those gathered that such persons were not disabled, but “differently abled and very valuable members of society”, and the people of Barbados should approach their welfare without partisan considerations.