BARBADOS COUNCIL FOR THE DISABLED
December 3rd, 2021
Amidst the upheaval that has defined our world over the past two years, persons with disabilities will pause today to reflect on those issues which are of most meaning to us as we mark another International Day for Person with Disabilities. Under the theme ““Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.” We are reminded that this too shall pass; this being the pandemic. Yet, as our lives continue within the confines of this situation, there are boundless opportunities for growth and redefinition as we reflect on what sound leadership takes.
Our country has marked another milestone of an ever-maturing society; that of being a republic. The Government of Barbados must be congratulated for taking this step at this time which continues to indicate that though small, our island has the capacity to define who we are and what we want to be.
As Barbadians living with disabilities – and indeed global citizens – we must characterize our work with leadership that remains committed to the ideal of “nothing about us without us.” These ideal demands that participation at all levels of our community be recognized and encouraged.
Though there remain many spheres in which persons with disabilities are yet to be fully included, let us choose a few to which we must direct our work over the coming months. Effective participation in decision making arenas; that is, sitting with, speaking with, and charting the course going forward for our country and its people. Persons with diverse needs are part of our community and our faces, voices and work must be represented. The pandemic has reshaped our world – and in no greater area than that of business. As many services have moved to a more flexible and digital method of operation, opportunities for pwds to be a part of the working world abound as several issues/barriers are broken down.
As our economy struggles to regain a strong footing, tourism remains our chief foreign exchange earner and, in this regard, rebuilding a post-covid world that is more inclusive and accessible to Barbadians and visitors alike should be one of our main priorities. It is not enough for us to call on others, but the clarion call goes out to our disabled people as well to lift your voices and place your matchless abilities to mould the new world through our participation in a Fully Accessible Barbados (FAB)
As we journey towards inclusion, the Barbados Council for the Disabled recommits itself to leading in our work to build back the better Barbados that we all deserve and from which we can all benefit!
Happy International Day for person with disabilities to all. This year has been challenging with many changes – some good, some painful – but together we will be stronger.
Kerryann F. Ifill SCM, MBA, BSC (Hons) CA
This article appears in the December 3 edition of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities feature. Read the full insert here.