With general elections now mere weeks away, the main Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is no longer talking in terms of if, but when, it takes over the reins of Government.
Addressing a meeting in his St James North constituency at 4th Avenue, Lower Carlton, St James over the weekend, incumbent representative Edmund Hinkson promised that as part of its overall plan to boost the quality of special needs education, the BLP would reopen the Alma Parris School in St Peter, which was recently forced to close its doors due to what officials said was a dwindling number of entrants.
“We will re-open the Alma Parris school which this Government so callously closed without consultation with the people of Barbados,” Hinkson said in light of the decision taken by the Ronald Jones-led Ministry of Education last year to close
the learning institution, which was established in 1996 and catered to slow learners.
“We have to correct that because a society has to treat towards its most vulnerable persons, and any society that doesn’t do that is not a society worth living in,” stressed Hinkson, who was the party’s shadow minister of education in the last Parliament.
The BLP spokesman also complained that the number of special needs adults employed in Barbados was too low, while contending that despite their disabilities most of these adults were as competent as any.
“In fact, in a lot of cases their brain is better, and sounder than a lot of people who don’t have ostensible disabilities, and there is no reason why only ten per cent of adult persons with disabilities in Barbados have sustainable, or any kind of employment,” Hinkson maintained, while also promising that the BLP “will re-institute the testing of children at ages three, four and five to see if they have any disabilities and learning defects from that early age”.
Hinkson, who failed in his attempts to get the Democratic Labour Party administration to bring special disabilities legislation before the House of Assembly, is promising that the BLP will do so if elected in the upcoming poll due here by June. (GA)