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Speech celebrated

Senator Kerryann Ifill cuts the ribbon to declare the exhibit open.

President of the Senate and advocate for persons with disabilities, Senator Kerry-Ann Ifill, continues to make parliamentary history in Barbados, with the opening of a special exhibit mounted in her honour – the first of its kind here.

The speech presented by Senator Ifill during the visit of the Earl and Countess of Wessex for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in February – the first delivered to a joint select committee to be formatted in braille, will be the centrepiece of the exhibition.

Facilities Coordinator at Parliament, David Best, speaking during a brief opening ceremony, said the exhibition was a fitting gesture in honour of the fifth anniversary of the Museum of Parliament and the National Heroes Gallery.

Describing the President’s speech as part of local history, he added that its inclusion in the museum would allow future generations to view such memorabilia with pride.

Flanked by senior prefects of her alma mater Combermere, Senator Ifill expressed surprise at the gesture, noting that her speech illustrated the significant contribution persons with disabilities could make in the political arena.

She lamented that still too many persons with disabilities are left on the periphery of society and not given an opportunity to contribute to its development.

“It is not only a historical event because it was the first speech of its kind, but it was historic because persons with disabilities in Barbados and across the region often find themselves excluded from being part of society.

“Recently, the Conference of State Parties on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was held in New York and one of the rights which they extolled was the right to be actively involved in political life, and here we have an example that persons with disabilities can be meaningfully and effectively involved,” Senator Ifill remarked.

The exhibition, which comprises several photographs and a video presentation of the President’s address for the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, may be viewed by visiting the Museum of Parliament, the City. (BGIS)

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