SOCIAL Services Minister Frankie Campbell.
By Khrisna Russell
Deputy Chief Reporter
SOCIAL Services Minister Frankie Campbell said yesterday that too many commercial and publicly used buildings remain only partially accessible to people with disabilities despite a long-passed deadline for them to be in compliance with the law. The deadline passed on December 31, 2017.
However, the minister gave no indication of what the government intended to do to force full accessibility throughout the country, only telling the House of Assembly yesterday that the parliamentary secretary in his ministry, Michael Foulkes, will review the relevant law with the view to ensuring regulations are in place by the end of this calendar year.
He spoke to the issue while congratulating author Kevin Cartwright on publishing his new book “Revelations of a Silent Heart”. Mr Cartwright is blind and has long been a part of efforts to bring the country on par with international disabilities guidelines.
“Members would be aware that matters related to persons with disabilities are included in the portfolio of the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development,” Mr Campbell said yesterday.
“Since assuming this office I have had the opportunity to meet with many members of the community of persons with disabilities as well as their families, NGOs and other stakeholders.
“These individuals are working assiduously along with my ministry toward the further advancement of the Persons with Disabilities Equal Opportunity Act.
“Since its enactment, it has been noted that too many commercial or publicly used buildings remain partially accessible or only partially retrofitted with regard to the accommodation of persons with disabilities and too many services remain limited with regard to the extent that they fully meet the needs of this community.”
He continued: “We in the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development are committed to the ongoing promotion and support of the likes of persons with disabilities.
“This commitment is further demonstrated by the priority that Parliamentary Secretary Michel Foulkes has given to reviewing the act with the view to ensuring that regulations are in place by the end of this calendar year and in so doing we also seek to raise public awareness throughout our communities on this subject.”
Mr Campbell made an appeal for more non-governmental organisations to assist with initiatives to advance the cause of those in the community.