Persons living with disabilities may have special conditions extended to them to accommodate their needs.
Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, and Permanent Secretary, Esworth Reid, both offered this solution after hearing concerns raised by Special Envoy for the Disabled, Roslyn Hurley, during the town hall meeting on petro-based plastics at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, last night.
Making reference to the ban, which includes petro-based straws, Ms. Hurley said: “For me, a straw is very important. If I go to lunch, I don’t want to dirty myself, or make myself shame, so I have to use a straw.”
Noting a number of disabled persons had to use straws, Ms. Hurley stated that they were very important to their existence, and even some who were hospitalized had to use straws.
However, she said the alternative paper-based straws and the reusable metal straws were not suitable for persons with disabilities.
The former President of the National Organization of Disabled Persons explained that metal straws could prove to be dangerous or even fatal, depending on a person’s ailment or disability, while paper-based straws usually got soft before they were able to finish their beverage.
Minister Humphrey expressed regret at the challenges members of the disabled community were facing in relation to the ban on petro-based plastics.
He stated that it did not make sense to have a safe environment, but create a dangerous situation for another category of persons.
The minister said the ministry would give consideration to applying special conditions as it relates to the use of straws for members of the disabled community.
Permanent Secretary Reid supported this suggestion, noting that special allowances could be made for people with disabilities. “That is something I will support and work on as quickly as possible,” he assured.