The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services has been hosting public consultations on the Revised Draft National Policy on Persons with Disabilities. But the head of an association for the deaf believes that the policy lacks specificity while the head of an association for the blind says it is time to move past policy and into legislation to protect the rights of people with disabilities.
According to the ministry, the national policy will also provide a holistic framework for achieving equal opportunity for all citizens with disabilities. The ministry said it is in keeping with its mandate and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which was ratified in 2015 as well as the 2030 development agenda.
Qushiba La Fleur, president of WeCare Deaf Support Network and acting executive officer for TT Association for the Hearing Impaired, told Sunday Newsday that she attended two consultations for the new draft policy.
She said at the consultations participants called for education and employment of persons with disabilities to be areas of focus. She also recalled one participant complaining that while ministry officials would say what they want to do “implementation takes a long time” or never happens at all.
La Fleur said they want companies to have their buildings suit the needs of persons with disabilities as employees but some were saying it is too expensive to make their buildings disabled friendly and prefer not to hire or engage with them. She said this was especially the case for deaf people as companies believe it will take time and cost them money.