Committed to the disabled

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has promised members of the disabled community he will address a number of the issues affecting their integration into society.

He gave this undertaking yesterday during a meeting with President of the Senate and the Barbados Council for the Disabled, Senator Kerryann Ifill, and other members of that body at Government Headquarters.

Ifill raised a number of issues, including the long-awaited ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which was signed in 2007 in Barbados.

She also explained the rationale for signing a petition earlier this year which reminded Government about the importance of ratifying the convention. “The reason for that petition was two fold. Not only was it specifically to come to Government, but it is also part of the council’s awareness raising efforts. Unfortunately, many people do not understand what it is we are fighting for and we felt it [the petition] was an opportunity to get our people mobilised and unified,” she emphasised.

Ifill said the petition received 1,500 signatures and in some instances, had met the intended objective of sensitising the public about the plight of persons with disabilities. In turn, the Prime Minister said Government was pleased with its efforts to address the needs of the disabled. He also updated Ifill on the progress of the convention and promised that “every effort will be done to expedite the process”.

Follow-up actions

“Once we ratify the convention, there will be follow-up actions that will have to be taken, certain amendments to the law will have to take place and we will have to mobilise the chambers of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, who is responsible for drafting laws in Barbados.

“They are ‘snowed under’ with legislation at the moment…, but you have my assurance that as happened in the past when we needed to have things [drafted] urgently, we will ‘farm out” to draft persons in the private sector and the private bar to get the amendments done to the legislation and fast tracked, or if new legislation is to be drafted, we will have that done as quickly as possible,” Stuart added.

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