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Feeling the life of the disabled

EDITOR, The Tribune.

AS a highly educated qualified legal professional to be discriminated against due to my paralysis by my chosen profession is not only perplexing but very disappointing and extremely hurtful. What amplifies the situation is that as a father-of-six I’m unable to make a proper living and adequately take care of my responsibilities.

From early childhood I’ve always been different. Fat and bowlegged I always bore the brunt of fat jokes, but coming from an extremely large family that was par for the course.

Don’t think for one minute that I was unbothered, nothing could be further from the truth it hurt immensely, but I learnt to bottle it up inside and carry on smartly.

I say that is to say that I was used to being singled out, overlooked, ridiculed and a non-participant in many activities. These experiences made me determined to be just one of the crew and I did all I could to fit in.

When I attended St Andrew’s, oh so many years ago, all boys in the senior school were required to do “the run” which was approximately a mile and a half, but due to my obesity I was exempt. I couldn’t take that I was singled out and I chose to participate probably to the annoyance of many as what should have taken 15 minutes max took me twice that.

But my life experience surrounding my obesity was nothing compared to the discrimination I now face as a paralysed person.

The experience itself is hard enough to come to grips with, I suffer from anxiety and bouts of severe depression.

Life goes on all around me whilst I’m bedridden and have to watch for the most part as life goes by and, or, live vicariously through the eyes of others.

So being able to practice my given profession is one of the few things that makes me feel whole, and makes me want to carry on every day.

I’ve been suffering under this medical condition now for almost five years and for the most part I’ve learnt to cope. One can only imagine the ignominy of a very proud man to have to endure the assistance of a caregiver to assist me with the most basic and personal of daily functions. And still that pales in comparison to the rejection I feel now.

Article 26 of the Constitution guarantees me a right to make a living and the Persons With Disabilities Act 2014 codified the protection of disabled persons.

Despite that I am unable to in this advanced technological age practice in the criminal courts. My paralysis prohibits me from attending court in person and that’s viewed as an impediment to an accused person as it’s said I’ll not be able to properly communicate with my client during the trial.

To that assertion I say: “bovine defecation”.

In order to secure my rights, and bear in mind I am not seeking special treatment but rather only the respect of being treated fairly and equally, I have had to launch a constitutional motion to access the same.

In 2024, this isn’t right. My body is suffering from an infirmity, not my mind as my mental acuity has as a result sharpened. I’m distressed and I feel broken, but life is a challenge and we must find the intestinal fortitude to push on through.

So why do I have to utilise the legal process to get that to which I’m entitled and to which I’ve earned?

Discrimination is real, people, and I’m realising that the disabled are a second or third thought. Just recently, the Eugene Dupuch Law School has a distinguished lecture with the present and three former Chief Justices.

This could have been so easily streamed online, but here again despite me making this suggestion prior to the event no provisions were made.

This is the life of the disabled. Cast aside.

My good Bahamian people you must do better.

A very sad and dejected attorney speaking my mind.

CRAIG F BUTLER

Nassau,

April 6 2024

Comments

birdiestrachan 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Mr Butler are you related to the famous sir Milo Butler perhaps the powers that be do not know how to help you perhaps you can educate them You are in the land of the living and you have the right to exist and contribute in what ever way you can

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