Tuesday 31 March, 2020

Government officials walk with the disabled to highlight inclusivity

In commemoration of World Disability Day celebrated on Tuesday, December 3, the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) held a walk on Tuesday, December 10, marked as Human Rights Day.

President for the NCPT Merphilius James says the walk serves to highlight the strength in the progression of inclusivity for persons with disabilities.

He notes the continued strives needed within the sector to enhance accessibility.

NCPD President, Merphilius James

"We've chosen human rights day because disability rights are basic human rights," NCPD President, Merphilius James declared.

"They are the rights that we fight for that everyone is enshrined with and endowed with in spite of disability and there is no way we can avoid interacting with our policymakers, our politicians because this is the arena in which the decisions will shape our lives are made" he stated.

The walk gathered the attendance from both members of the political divide.

Opposition MPs walking with disabled students

“We’ve invited the parliamentarians on both sides of the house to join us where we will walk here and I say walk because we also have those who will be wielding themselves here, we have wheelchair users, persons on crutches, persons who require special accommodation and assistance to get there. This is a walk which may take the average person five minutes, but persons with disabilities we may take…well…twenty minutes to half an hour. And this shows that persons with disabilities in order to achieve the same level of output as persons without, we need greater allowances, greater concessions and assistance in our sector.”

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet greeting the disabled

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet says the island has recently signed onto the international convention with regards to disabilities.

The convention draws from years of work by the United Nations to change attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities. It elevates the movement from viewing persons with disabilities as “objects” of charity, medical treatment and social protection and instead it moves it to viewing persons with disabilities as “subjects” with rights.

“Something like this really exemplifies what my government is about, is to really to help those in particular who are not in a position to not always help themselves, but at the same time a disability should not be mercy,” the Prime Minister stated.

“I don’t think any of them are looking for mercy, what they want is to be respected in the society and to be able to take care of themselves. And so whether you have a physical disability, a mental disability or an economic disability, those are the things we have to concern ourselves with and we truly would not have succeeded as a government until we can start addressing these things. Maybe not all but at least till everybody is satisfied, but ultimately try to get to that position,” Chastanet stated.

The walk culminated in an open interaction setting at Constitution Park.

The event included an exhibition by farmers of the Disabled Farmers Inc, who specialize in producing honey and honey-by products.

Also forming part of the activity was musical renditions in steel pan by students of the Dunnottar School.

President of the NCPT says the continued support from various youth groups, the National Youth Council, the Sacred Sports Foundation and the National Students Council did not go unnoticed.

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