Although Barbados has made some progress towards ratifying the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, it now needs to have a strategic plan for implementing the provisions of that contract.

This was disclosed today by Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Care, Sonja Welch, while speaking at the National Disabilities Unit’s (NDU’s) Workshop on the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, being held at UN House, Marine Gardens, Christ Church.

Ms. Welch noted that a White Paper on Persons with Disabilities had been laid in Parliament on August 20, 2002 and this country had become a signatory to the Convention on July 19, 2007. She added: “We are at a phase where we now need to be targeted and focused in our action and create plans for implementation over a period of time, by a co-ordinated effort on the part of government ministries and departments, civil society and the private sector.”

She continued: “We must now develop a strategic plan for implementation of the Convention to highlight key areas of necessary performance and review.  We must create the policies, programmes, and engage in the practices necessary to make the provisions come to life.”

Ms. Welch urged participants to be “dreamers”, while being practical as they looked at the provisions, so as to ensure that they fully understood what Barbados’ obligations were. She cautioned, however, that “this must be done against the recognition of the State’s own limitations in resources and the current international environment.

“We must thus be creative in our thinking, be reasonable and clear in our setting and prioritising of goals and objectives, and diligent in monitoring and evaluating our progress on each and every obligation assumed,” she remarked.

NDU’s Workshop is designed to allow participants to examine carefully the obligations to be met, with a view to updating the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

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