Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley

Local authorities need to "move a bit faster" to ensure disabled persons have easier access to private and public sector facilities.

Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, expressed this view today at the official opening of the Goalball Workshop being held at the Black Rock Cultural Centre.

Stressing that anyone could become disabled at anytime, Mr. Lashley told the gathering: "This is not an issue that is only being addressed from the perspective of the Paralympic Association. It is a national issue and I have pledged to make sure that, in relation to sporting access, the National Sports Council will ensure that access, particularly when it comes to convening meetings and the holding of activities, is dealt with…

"The whole question of discrimination is also one of the key issues in Barbados and we have got to attack it from all fronts. Certainly the Government is very determined to ensure that we can level the playing field … particularly as it relates to persons with disabilities."

Minister Lashley disclosed that he had already held discussions with the National Sports Council and that he was keen to "do everything in my power" to make sure issues of access were sorted out.

He noted that Goalball, which is a Paralympic sport, played by blind and visually impaired athletes, "is an exciting sport". He thanked the British High Commission for supporting the initiative and appealed to the private sector to come on board and assist the Association with its valuable work.

"We need to show that we support the activities and we need to ensure that wherever possible we can financially support the Association," he stressed.

Mr. Lashley promised his Ministry’s continued support and said he hoped a Goalball team would be sent to the Paralympics which will run from August 29 to September 9, 2012.

British High Commissioner, Paul Brummell, said about 4200 persons were expected to compete in the 20 Paralympic sports, while about two million spectators with tickets would view the games.

Mr. Brummell gave the assurance that the disabled community would be able to access the Paralympic games.

The Goalball workshop will be held from May 3 to May 11 between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., at the Black Rock Cultural Centre.


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