Minister of Health John Boyce is concerned that differently abled people in Barbados are still being discriminated against and he has called for this to stop.
Speaking this morning at the prize giving ceremony for students of the Albert Cecil Graham Development Centre at the St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, Bay Street, the City, Minister Boyce warned that discrimination could prevent differently abled persons from reaching their potential.
Boyce said he has had to deal with almost daily cases of undue challenges facing some these individuals.
“As minister we get a number of persons, parents and other leaders in our community asking us to go that extra step to ask our staff to take that extra consideration in the treatment of these very special children.
“It is indeed a challenge. We must recognize that persons with challenges can make progress only when some attitudes change, towards [members of] the community.”
The Minister of Health also said improved services for the disabled depended upon general awareness among the public that persons with disabilities could function independently within our society.
“Barbados, as signatory to the rights of the disabled, has given its commitment that the disabled community must be protected from discrimination, must be given needed rehabilitation and training to work and must have the opportunity to achieve any goal that they aspire to. And even though we still have a long way to go, perhaps our biggest challenge lies in the area of changing the attitudes of the public and indeed potential employers towards them.
Minister Boyce said the contributions of persons who help the differently abled should be recognised.
He noted that promotion of “full participation by persons with disabilities” would contribute to their sense of belonging in society.
“The Ministry of Health and the Government of Barbados will continue to be strong advocates for equal opportunities for the disabled communities but we also need to change the thinking of employers who too often assume that to be disabled means unable. Non-disabled persons must be shown that the disabled person can function in full spectrum of everyday activities relating to employment, transportation and social integration,” the minister said.
He thanked several private sector businesses for giving their time, money, equipment and technical expertise towards the work of the Albert Cecil Graham Centre, and he also called for other business to the same.