Categorized | National News

Equal Opportunities Act Advanced

The Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development is making strides as they work with Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) and stakeholders to advance the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities, Equal Opportunities, Act. 

Minister of Social Services, Frankie Campbell revealed in the House of Assembly yesterday  that his ministry  is “working assiduously towards the further advancement of the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities Equal Opportunities Act.

“Since assuming this office, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with many members of the community of persons with disabilities. 
“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.  

“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,” Mr. Campbell said. 

He added that the commitment  of the ministry, NGOs and stakeholders, is also demonstrated by the priority Parliamentary Secretary Michael Foulkes gave to reviewing the Act,  with the view of ensuring that regulations are in place by the end of this calendar year. 

“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. 

“Too  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,” Mr. Campbell said. 

He also added that the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development has provided financial support to a number of the NGOs through its subventions from its annual budget.

“However, we  realize  that the operating costs of these NGOs, and the contributions that they make within our communities, to these social causes, far exceed the amount of the grant that we offer,” Mr. Campbell said.

While Mr. Campbell acknowledged that the work of NGOs and individuals who support persons with disabilities should not go unnoticed.  He said that the contributions to the society, made by persons with disabilities should not go unnoticed. 

He used the opportunity to acknowledge Kevin Carwright, a visually impaired author, who was present in the House’s gallery. Mr. Cartwright released a book of poems last month. 

“It was a pleasure for me to receive a copy of the book “Revelations of a Silent Heart. 

“Mr. Cartwright was born and raised in The Bahamas and is a very talented poet,” Mr. Campbell said. 

Mr. Campbell admonished his colleagues to purchase a copy of Mr. Carwright’s books. 

“I ask Members in this Honourable place to join me in commending Mr. Cartwright for this wonderful achievement (and) I implore everyone within this place and outside of this place, to purchase a copy of this inspiring and thought-provoking book,” Mr. Campbell said.  
Mr. Cartwright holds an Associate’s and a Bachelor’s Degree from West Virginia State University. He is also a Language Arts teacher at the Erin Gilmour School for the Blind and is a member of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities. 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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