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Deaf care too

Well the battle royale is on and it’s hot! I have to admit that when I heard the election bell ring with only a mere three weeks before voting day I thought that this was very little time for campaigning and canvassing etc. Boy was I wrong! It feels like February 20!

I can’t believe the amount of meetings which have already transpired, the posters and billboards which went up in record time, the jingles, the entertainment, the T-shirts, the radio advertisements, the flags, the loud speakers on vehicles in every gap and avenue blaring party information and the electric atmosphere prevailing the entire nation at this time! Even the chanting that transpires during meetings is noteworthy.

However, what again is being called for is access to information on all that is happening publicly. The deaf community – again – has been asking to be able to see and understand all that is being articulated at major political meetings since they are voters and have the right to have this access so that they could be well informed when they exercise their democratic right to vote.

We have seen interpreting on the platform of the BLP at their mass gathering and we would like to see this for the DLP as well. However, some members of the deaf community pointed out that while this was good it was not enough.

They said with just about everyone’s speeches being placed online through various forms of social media including Facebook, they should have the speeches captioned for the deaf. As they say, this is a simple thing and it is done every day. Since technology has greatly advanced, there really is no reason for them to be left out of the information process when it comes to video.

Also, the fact that theirs is a pretty sizeable community should make those in the know do everything possible to allow them access to information just like everyone else.

The other thing they wish is something the public in general have been asking for, a debate between the two party leaders, which should be interpreted on tv. Here is where you actually get to hear the vision, purpose and plans of the parties minus the “noise”.

This is where information is produced at its best since the leaders want to go into their intended policies and this is what the country waits to hear; not only because this is what we expect to see unveiled when the particular party gets into power, but we also hear the articulation of both speakers as they defend themselves, their manifestos and their plans for Barbados.

The final thing on the deaf’s “wish list” is to be kept in the know on election night through either interpreting or clear and constant visual accounts of tabulations, and to have the speech of the winner interpreted when they’ve been declared the winner.

These are all things that we who have ears to hear take for granted. Can you imagine being in a world void of sound, wishing to be part of the voting process but not doing so because you lack information because communication is an issue?

There are some who have never even considered what it could possibly be like to live in this kind of atmosphere we have now during this election period and not be able to understand the simplest of things.

These little things all make a difference for us whether consciously or unconsciously when it comes to marking our X in the little box; because believe it or not, they really do help sway many people to vote in a particular direction.

The irony of the whole situation is that many of you who are privy to all this information will not even bother to leave your homes or offices to vote come February 21. So while many potential voters refuse to exercise their democratic right to elect a government into office, the deaf continue to ask and plead to have access either through interpreting or captioning/text.

To say that their pleas seem to be falling on deaf ears is a pun I wouldn’t even bother to make, but needless to say there is still time to make sure that everyone has all the necessary tools and information to make the best informed decision when the day comes.

I don’t know what else can be said. All I would say is that it’s time to show the deaf community that they are viewed as important and valuable citizens who deserve the same access to information as anyone else and if you still have a problem understanding that, understand this – the more they know, the better your party’s chances are at getting into office since their vote is counted not by disability but by an X. I think that last part was clear!

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