Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment, Urban and Rural Development, Christopher Sinckler (FP)

Government is committed to advocating and promoting the advancement and empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.

This was underscored by Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment, Urban and Rural Development, Christopher Sinckler, as he addressed the official opening ceremony of First BASE, last Saturday morning. The project is being implemented by the Barbados Association for Supported Employment, and is being housed at a facility in Greenwich, St. James, which was donated by the Barbados Diocesan Trustees.

Minister Sinckler acknowledged that of the six to eight students who graduate from the Learning Centre each year, only three obtain a regular job. In endorsing this scheme, he welcomed the discovery of any "new and meaningful ways to facilitate the gainful and productive employment of more persons with disabilities in mainstream society.

"Most of these young persons are talented individuals; they desire to become economically independent but are confronted with a job market in which they are very few livelihood opportunities for them," he stated.

Mr. Sinckler lauded the Learning Centre, for playing a major role in the development of the project, which is designed to provide meaningful employment for young persons with developmental disabilities.

The Social Care Minister disclosed that Government was "of the firm opinion that persons with disabilities should have equal rights to work", and was therefore seeking to enforce these rights, freedoms and privileges through the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as through its own White Paper.

"It is recognised by Government that while it can…implement measures to ensure that marginalisation of citizens is kept to a minimum, there is a limit to which it can intervene in the dynamics of the market place. This is where organisations such as BASE and initiatives like this can make a difference," he stressed.

Mr. Sinckler expressed full support for the initiative, its objectives and programmes, and gave the assurance that his Ministry would be making a substantial contribution in the new financial year.

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