Minister of Social Care, Christopher Sinckler (FP)????

Barbados is in the final stages of ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).??

Minister of Social Care, Christopher Sinckler, made this disclosure last evening in Independence Square at a free concert, which came as part of the National Disabilities Unit’s Public Awareness Campaign.?? The campaign is a requirement for the ratification of the Convention.??

Stating that Barbados had made much progress regarding PWDs in several spheres, he said: "Our Government … not only named the Honourable Kerri Ann Ifill as a Senator in the Upper House of Barbados, but she also holds the position of Deputy President of that august body and participates meaningfully in all issues of discussion.??

"The Government has made the Upper Chamber accessible to her, through permitting the use of relevant computer technology, so as to allow her to have the same access to information and participation, as all other Senators."

Minister Sinckler also disclosed that his Ministry and the wider government were developing programmes which would lead to increased independence and to empowerment among members of the disabled community, since the reality was that

they had "become dependent on the state, which did not always respond to their needs in a timely and efficient manner."

He also called on those present, after they had witnessed the performances of a number of PWDs, to question whether the abilities exhibited in music, dance, song, poetry and other cultural expressions could not be transferred to other areas of excellence.

"Much of our programming, as we go forward together, must be aimed at raising public awareness and public consciousness, not only to the needs, but also to celebrate the achievements of persons with disabilities," Mr. Sinckler added.

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