Government remains committed to maximising the cause of persons with disabilities.
Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Kirk Humphrey, gave that assurance after visiting the National Disabilities Unit (NDU), and the Barbados Council for the Disabled, as he continued touring agencies under his portfolio on Monday.
“We gave the personal assurance today…that we will maximise the cause of those persons with disabilities. We recognise that many persons in this country who have disabilities are not treated too kindly, whether deliberately or otherwise,” he said.
Mr. Humphrey said Government intended to be a part of the Fully Accessible Barbados programme, and would give support to the Information Technology programme offered by the NDU.
“These are the things that we have to work on to make sure that our disabled persons are more engaged and included in our society. It has to be more than just a conversation. It has to be real in the lives of the people who experience it.
“These are some of the things that we intend to work on urgently going forward,” Mr. Humphrey assured.
NDU Director, John Hollingsworth, welcomed the commitment, noting that once the necessary clearance was given in relation to COVID-19, his department intended to implement a more intense programme for the disabled.
That programme, he said, was designed to bring persons with disabilities to a place where they were comfortable and acceptable, so they could be integrated into mainstream society and contribute to the island’s development.
“Too many times, persons see persons with disabilities as being on the periphery and not as a group of persons that can contribute meaningfully to Barbados’ development.
“We want to change that mindset. And the aim of the National Disabilities Unit, with the assistance of its partners and other stakeholders, is to ensure that these persons get what they deserve,” Mr. Hollingsworth stated.
During Monday’s tour, the Minister also visited the NDU’s Mangrove Agricultural project, the Barbados Council for the Disabled, the Sterling Children’s Home, the Child Care Board and the Welfare Department headquarters.
He was joined by Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry, Corey Lane; Permanent Secretary, Gabrielle Springer; Deputy Permanent Secretary, Mark Franklin, and department heads.