Opposition MP appeals for disabilities legislation
St James North Member of Parliament Edmund Hinkson is bemoaning the fact there is still no legislation in Barbados providing for the non-discrimination of persons with disabilities, even as the country observes yet another Month of the Disabled.
“Almost 10 years after Barbados signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and exactly four years after our country ratified that treaty, the present government has not felt it necessary to even debate my Private Members’ Resolution, laid in Parliament two years ago, which calls for this Convention to be made a part of the Laws of Barbados,” Hinkson said in a statement.
He pointed out that the passage of such legislation would also provide for the full and effective participation and inclusion in society of persons with disabilities, “for equal opportunity in their educational, health, employment, cultural, sporting, recreational and political development and for their full accessibility to the environment, both natural and built”.
Hinkson further lamented that the Democratic Labour Party administration has failed to even lay in Parliament, as promised long ago, legislation addressing discrimination in the workplace and addressing building standards, both of which he said would provide for greater legal rights for persons with disabilities.
“Additionally, the long promised amendments to the Road Traffic Act, which would address issues affecting parking for persons with disabilities, are yet to see the light of day, even after one year has passed since the Prime Minister was presented with a petition containing over 12,500 signatures concerning this matter,” the Opposition MP added.
Last year’s Caribbean Human Development Report released by the United Nations Development Programme confirmed that about 82 per cent of persons with disabilities in this region live below the poverty line.
In Barbados, about five per cent of the population has some form of physical, mental, visual or hearing disability.
“I, yet again, appeal to the Government of Barbados to finally show that it cares for the most economically vulnerable category of people in our society by introducing these legislative reforms for their economic benefit and social advancement,” Hinkson said.