Campbell: Ministry, stakeholders, 'working assiduously’ on advancement of Persons with Disabilities Act
By Matt Maura
May 22, 2019 - 5:05:18 PM
Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon.Frankie Campbell addressing House of Assembly Members, Wednesday, May 22, 2019. (BIS Photo/Kemuel Stubbs)
Nassau, The Bahamas – Officials at the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development are working with great care, effort and attention to detail with the community of persons with disabilities, their families, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders, towards the further advancement of the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities) Act.
Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell made the announcement in Parliament Wednesday.
“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 accommodation of persons with disabilities, and (that) too many services remain limited with regard to the extent that they fully meet the needs of this community,” Minister Campbell said.
“We, in the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development are committed to the ongoing promotion and support of the rights of persons with disabilities. This commitment is further demonstrated by the priority that Parliamentary Secretary Michael Foulkes has given to reviewing the Act with the view of 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.”
“In this regard, I applaud the work of the many NGOs that contribute to this effort in so many ways and ensure the well-being of persons with disabilities on a daily basis. The many programmes developed in support of this community by these NGOs significantly augment the services that are provided through our relevant government ministries and departments. It is a task that the government cannot undertake in its entirety, and we urge more members of the public to join us in this initiative.”
Minister Campbell said the Government of The Bahamas has been able to provide financial support to a number of the non-governmental organizations by way of subventions from his Ministry’s budget.
“However, the government realizes that the operating costs of the NGOs, and the contributions they make within our communities to these social causes, far exceed the amount of the grants that we offer.”
Minister Campbell told Parliament that he has had the opportunity to meet with members of the 17 non-governmental organizations that are involved in advocacy for the community of persons with disabilities, as well as their families, and other stakeholders since assuming the office as Minister of Social Services and Urban Development in July, 2018.
The consultations are expected to lead to the development of a comprehensive plan for the community of persons living with disabilities. The plan is expected to include legislation.
Discussions will be held with the approximately 17 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are involved in advocacy for the community of persons with disabilities in The Bahamas in order to meet the objective of inclusion in the comprehensive plan.
“Members would be aware that matters related to the community of persons with disabilities are included within the portfolio of the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development.”
Minister Campbell said in acknowledging the work of those groups of individuals who support these efforts, however, “we must not overlook the contributions that persons with disabilities themselves make to our society.”
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