IM this article to a friend!

December 15, 2002

Lashley : Fund on way for disabled

From: Barbados Daily Nation, Barbados - 15 Dec 2002

A special $100 000 micro enterprise fund for the disabled will be available in the new financial year.

Minister of Social Transformation Hamilton Lashley, speaking at the weekly Friday lunchtime lecture at St Michael’s Cathedral, The City, said the introduction of the fund was just of the measures to be put in place to make Barbados a more disabled-friendly society.

“Although we are somewhat behind, we are making Barbados disabled-friendly,” he said. “Persons with disabilities want to be integrated into the society. Each and every Barbadian has a duty to help with this.”

Lashley said people with disabilities have to be put on the forefront of the Government’s agenda. He said that while recently passed White Paper exists, there needed to be stronger legislation that saw to the needs and safeguarded the rights of disabled Barbadians.

This legislation should stipulate, among other things, the inclusion of sign language, an official language, making it part of the school curriculum in primary and secondary schools, and a requirement of parents and families with children who are hearing impaired, he said.

Lashley said that since Jamaica’s disabled population had benefited from the many reforms initiated by their lone disabled representative in the Senate, Barbados should also look to including a representative from the disabled community in its Senate or Parliament.

The minister said that further measures to include and facilitate the disabled would be taken in the new year. These included the empowerment of disabled people who wanted to start their own cottage industries with a $100 000 fund; the creation of an Abilities Foundation to hone skills; the purchase of public transport buses which could accommodate the physically handicapped as well as the general populace; and the development of more centres like the Children’s Development Centre to care for disabled children.

While Barbados will take its own measures, Lashley said Caribbean ministers will meet in Jamaica next April to formulate a streamlined, regional policy on the disabled, culminating in the signing of an agreement that will be known as the Kingston Accord.

Copyright © 2001 Nation Publishing Co. Limited