The Cabinet has approved an advisory committee to be established to looking into improving the lives of persons living with disabilities.
Speaking on Friday at a ceremony for the designation of parking spaces for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in Bridgetown, at Prince William Street, Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Kirk Humphrey, announced that Member of Parliament for St James North Edmund Hinkson will chair the committee with former President of the Senate Kerryann Ifill serving as deputy chairman.
Humphrey said Senator Andwele Boyce, communications specialist and activist Joyann Haigh, Janeil Odle and Dawn Rudder, all with relationships with the PWDs community, will also sit on the committee.
“This committee has been given a mandate for the next six months to work assiduously to bring the policy on persons with disabilities so that we can also approve the legislation. We have a draft legislation now that over the next six months it is to be fine-tuned to get the legislation right,” he said.
Humphrey said that at the end of the six months, the drafted legislation will be taken to Parliament.
The minister said, “We have also increased in many cases, the subvention and also expanded the number of persons we have granted subventions to. We intend during the course of this year to meet with all of the organisations responsible for the various components. But I also feel that the unit could be strengthened and all these bodies must come under the Barbados Council for the Disabled and allow the council to speak as a strong cohesive voice for all of these bodies. It is my view that when that is done, you are in a much better position to pass on the benefits that would come to your members,” Humphrey said.
The minister also indicated that a restructuring exercise is being conducted at this time to place the National Disabilities Unit, National Assistance Board, Welfare Department and the Child Care Board under one umbrella. He said this would allow the public to have easier and better access to greater resources, technical assistance and better treatment.