“They are not disabled; they are differently abled and very valuable members of society.”
This view on Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) was shared by Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett, as he delivered remarks recently at a church service at the Calvary Moravian Church to launch the Month of the Disabled.
This year’s theme is: An Accessible Future is a Sustainable Future, which Mr. Blackett described as fitting. “Barbados as a whole has realised that our country can only continue on and maintain its trajectory of growth if all sectors of society are made fully and easily accessible to Persons with Disabilities,” he contended.
The Social Care Minister acknowledged that many Government offices and private businesses had changed their infrastructure to facilitate easier access to their services by PWDs. These include the provision of ramps, handrails and specially outfitted washrooms.
Special mention was also made of business places which incorporate members of the differently-abled community by engaging them in full-time employment, giving them the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to this country’s workforce and economy.
Mr. Blackett also had some strong words for those persons who continued to flout the law as it relates to parking in spaces reserved for PWDs.
“They must understand that they, too, can become disabled with ease and would wish for the courtesies …to be extended to them. We sincerely hope that in the near future, their moral fabric will be imbued with a greater understanding and a high enough measure of loving kindness that would positively alter their attitudes towards indiscriminately using parking that has been assigned for the disabled,” he stated.
March is celebrated annually as the Month of the Disabled.