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Heads place attention on persons with disabilities

Posted in: Press Releases by admin | 06 July 2013 | Release Ref #: 141/2013 | 5256

    (CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)     Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, for their Thirty-Fourth Regular Meeting, will place the spotlight on persons with disabilities and special needs as they consider Haiti’s proposal for a high level meeting on the issue.

    At the opening of the Conference on Wednesday, at least two Heads of State made reference to the subject that they said was dear to the hearts.

    According to the Right Honourable Perry Christie, Prime Minister of the Bahamas, and father of an autistic child, there was a significant number of persons disabled through injuries, and others who were born or impaired at birth with some form of disability.

    The challenges are compounded, he said, with poverty, and difficulties with access to equipment and expertise.

    He was of the firm view that children had a fundamental right to access resources in an equitable way. He said there was a realization that the initiative was significant and “that when we come to measure ourselves, it is not what we do for the most equipped and most educated, but what you do for… the most disadvantaged”.

    Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, the Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar, told her audience that her government had an interest in opening a regional dialogue to highlight the challenges and champion the interests of persons living with disabilities.

    “My granddaughter is also autistic, so I understand where we are coming from and where we have to go,” said the Prime Minister, who spoke after Prime Minister Christie at the Conference’s opening.

    They rallied the Community to action, “not because my granddaughter is autistic or because Prime Minister Christie’s child is autistic, but because there are so many of our children who are challenged on the basis of disabilities and who we have not given the kind of attention and care that they need”.

    “Our children need our support and we must fail them,” she said as she called for the dialogue to develop to the point where there is a resolution to ultimately address the needs of all persons living with disabilities and special needs that could be taken to the United Nations.