Tue | Sep 19, 2017

Make ABMs disabled friendly

Published:Monday | July 18, 2016 | 7:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Allow me to bring to your attention an incident which illustrates that the banking sector is displaying insensitivity by failing specifically to make ABMs user-friendly for the differently abled.

While waiting in line to use an NCB ABM on North Street, I was asked to assist a visually impaired young woman to use the machine. Given that this was a fairly safe location, I agreed to assist and accompanied her inside the machine. I assumed that she needed minimal assistance until she took out her card and handed it to me. To my horror, she proceeded to give me her PIN, account type and the amount of money to withdraw from the account.

Mid-protest, it occurred to me that there were no provisions in this location for people who are visually and hearing impaired. The numbers on the keypad were not engraved, so there was no way for her to feel for the numbers.

By failing to provide infrastructure to cater to this segment of the Jamaican population, this young lady's security and financial well-being were put at risk. Why should she have to rely on me, a stranger, to help her complete banking transactions?

If the banking sector accepts clients from these communities, provisions should be made for them to have a secure and dignified banking experience. This should include machines that provide aids for users, as well as sign language translators and Braille within the banks.

At a minimum, I would expect the banking sector to commit to a long-term plan to implement infrastructure that caters to ALL members of the Jamaican community, especially the most vulnerable members of our community.

Let us endeavour to treat Jamaicans who are differently abled with respect. It is their human rights that we risk infringing when we fail to ensure that they are able to have access to services that cater to them.

SHANI ROPER (PhD)

Research Officer, Liberty Hall

sroper@libertyhall-ioj.org.jm