A group of disabled visitors was able to enjoy a piece
of Barbados yesterday through a tour facilitated
by the Barbados Council For The Disabled (BCD) and the Ministry of Tourism.
The Council For The Disabled arranged a two-hour plus tour for the group of 23 people with disabilities at the request of Maureen Sinkule, co-founder of the Polio Group in Boca Raton, Florida. The group arrived this morning on the cruise liner Celebrity Equinox, which docked at the Bridgetown Port.
Travelling in three accessible vans, the disabled individuals got a good idea of the general make-up and landscape of the island through the tour, which travelled north, through Bathsheba on the East Coast, cross-country to St Joseph and St George –– stopping for pictures and sampling some of the culinary delights of Barbados,before heading back to the Port.
Speaking to the media before the tour started, Sinkule said she was happy the accessible vehicles were available in Barbados, giving the members of her group the opportunity to comfortably tour the island and not have to stay on the ship, as was the case in other countries. She said she found out about the accessible vehicles through the Fully Accessible Barbados website which is supported by the council, the ministry and other stakeholders.
“This is absolutely fabulous. We are very happy just to be able to have a sight-seeing tour, and have the vendors come to the bus. This vehicle is beautiful, it is clean, it is accessible, it’s safe, it’s wonderful. I know that’s a big financial commitment as well. But how good is it if nobody knows about it?” she asked.
Sinkule explained that the group, which has been around for 17 years, in 2003 looked at the possibility of members going on annual cruises through booking with Travel Group International.
“My booking agent allows me to come on board the ship, check it out and this way I can tell people I have seen it. And people take my word for it.
“I take pictures on board and, of course, I tell them that I find the accessible tours for all the islands and every time we come back to the same islands we use the same vendors over and over again, because they work with us and they understand what our needs are,” she said.