Minister of Social Care, Steve Blackett (centre), cuts the ribbon at the launch of the Sea for All project at Browne’s Beach. At left is the Rotary Club of Barbados’ Director of Inrternational Service, Dr. Carol Belgrave, and at right is Assistant Governor of the Rotary Club of Guadeloupe, Fritz Grenon. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

All hands are on deck to ensure that Persons with Disabilities are fully integrated into society.

This team effort was highlighted last Saturday, when the Rotary Club of Barbados launched their The Sea For All project, at Browne’s Beach, St. Michael.

The initiative, which was developed through collaboration with the National Disabilities Unit, aims to provide an opportunity for Persons with Disabilities to enjoy the beach through the use of wheelchairs which were designed for such use.

In his address, Minister of Social Care, Steve Blackett lauded the Rotarians for their efforts, and noted that Government "is committed to creating a supportive environment" for everyone. " …In Barbados, [people] are of the opinion, that once you are born with a disability or you lose some aspect of your mobility, that you lose all interest in life around you…This is a myth and I can let you know that the government of which I am a part…aims to lay such thinking to rest, and to enable and empower Persons with Disabilities to play a full part in Barbadian life," the Social Care Minister asserted.

In alluding to the tourism opportunities available through the development of this project, Mr. Blackett stated: "…Offerings such as these will also place us on the cutting edge in the world of disabilities…It is in my view that the provision of such equipment in hotels, eco-trails, and even at the Bridgetown Port, would allow Barbados to cater to those among our visitors who have a disability, and this would give Barbados a competitive edge on many other destinations in the region and beyond."??

He reiterated his Ministry’s satisfaction with the introduction of three beach wheelchairs which have been placed at Browne’s Beach for use by Persons with Disabilities.?? However, Mr. Blackett said such an intiative should be expanded to other beaches. "I am, therefore, inviting other firms and organisations, to do what the Rotary Club of Barbados has done; that is, to survey the needs of the full range of the public that you serve, and see where assistance and or equipment can be donated to make this country more user friendly to all members of society, and to our visitors," Mr. Blackett urged.

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