Health Minister John Boyce says that as Barbados seeks to live up to its obligations as a signatory to the Rights of the Disabled, its greatest challenge is changing the attitudes of the public, and especially potential employers, towards this grouping.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony for students of the Albert Cecil Graham Development Centre on Wednesday, Mr. Boyce said that disabled persons could make progress only when two sets of attitudes were changed ??? their own towards themselves, and the attitudes of the non-disabled community.
???The Ministry of Health and the Barbados Government will continue to be strong advocates for equal opportunities for the disabled community, but we also need to change the thinking of employers who often assume that disabled means unable,??? he stated.
Mr. Boyce noted that equal treatment was the key to positive public attitudes towards the disabled, and the non-disabled community must be shown that disabled persons can function in a full spectrum of everyday activities related to employment, transportation and social integration.
He praised the teachers and staff at the Albert Cecil Graham Development Centre for their dedication and commitment to ensuring that their charges became the very best that they could be.
To the graduands, he noted: ???Graduation in any sphere is a happy occasion because it is the culmination of hard work and dedication. On this occasion, it is an even more special moment for you because you have had to work so hard to achieve what others seem to be able to do so easily. ???I want you to keep foremost in your minds the dreams that you have set yourselves and always remember if at first I don???t succeed, try and try again.???
Of the 14 students who graduated, seven were from the Workshop Unit, two from the Education Unit, and five from the Day Care Unit.