Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transport Works and Water Resources Santia Bradshaw has issued a reminder to Barbadians that there is a punishment for able-bodied drivers who park in clearly-defined spaces for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
Speaking at Prince William Street, on Friday at the designation of parking spaces for PWDs in the City, Bradshaw said anyone who stops, stands, or is in a vehicle and is caught in the designated spaces unlawfully could be fined up to BDS$500 if they do not have a valid parking permit from the Barbados Licensing Authority prominently displayed.
“This penalty is also attached to the blocking of the drop curb, the lowered section of the sidewalk that facilitates wheelchair access. And I hear the call that has been made earlier in relation to ensuring that we are able to step by step – because we can’t do every single street all at the same time – with the appropriate data and the consultation with the stakeholders, be able to repair the sidewalks, repair the curbs in an effort to ensure that there is access to our streets by persons who are challenged in any way,” Bradshaw said.
The four spaces in the City now designated for PWDs are located at Prince William Henry Street, two at Tudor Street and one at McGregor Street.
She noted that the designated spaces for persons with disabilities are reserved only for the use of the community for which it is intended.
The Deputy PM said that while only four spaces have been designated at this time, the public must be reminded that there is a lot of work that must go into deciding where the markings are placed.
“As we work together to prepare a National Policy on Disabilities, there is still a need to continue promoting our various public education interventions in any way that we can, so that the advocacies remain fertile and the national narrative evolves to the point were the rights of this class of road users are naturally respected,” Bradshaw said.
Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Kirk Humphrey, who also spoke at the event, joined Bradshaw in making the call for able-bodied persons to respect that there are parking spaces designated for PWDs.
Humphrey said his ministry will be embarking on a robust public relations programme to educate members of the public about designated parking spaces and how they can recognize them.
“I will be the first to encourage the police to report and otherwise treat to persons who choose to park in the spaces for persons with disabilities who are designated to park there. We have to take these matters seriously as we move forward,” Humphrey said.
President for the Barbados Council for the Disabled (BCD) Kerryann Ifill said the council was pleased with the initiative and endorsed it. Shel said the council also encouraged police officers and others to be vigilant.
“Through the Barbados Council for the Disabled, the Ministry of Transport and Work issues the parking permits. There are designated days on which you can apply to the council. Please contact us to ensure that you have the right to park in these and all of the other designated spaces around Barbados without shame, without fear or intimidation and without fear that you will be told to move. As we move in the right direction, as we continue to work hard we will realize the future that we want to see and that is a fully-inclusive and accessible Barbados,” Ifill added.