Wed | Apr 1, 2020

Let’s make proper provisions for the disabled

Published:Thursday | February 21, 2019 | 12:08 AM


I am ashamed to say that as a citizen of Jamaica, I was not proactively sensitive to the plight of the disabled in this country.

My awareness was piqued, however, as I recently had a fall that rendered me incapable of walking with my usual speed and agility. It was at this time that I realised the inadequacy of our infrastructure in most industries to accommodate persons with disabilities. Whenever I had to leave my home, I found myself diligently asking persons: “Are there stairs? Is there a ramp? Is there a rail, and is a wheelchair available? Does the office have an elevator?” To my distress, there was no provision made for persons with disabilities in most instances. My further research did not only lead me to those persons with mobility constraints, but other disabilities such as the blind.

My apologies to the disabled fraternity for not being cognisant of, or demonstrating empathy in, this situation. No one should have to endure such inconveniences on a daily basis due to the lack of provision even in corporate organisations whose international partners have the required infrastructure in place.

I am appealing to the Government to ensure that the adequate structure is in place to assist disabled persons, especially in light of the buoyancy in the real estate market. No more approvals of buildings until the requisite evidence of care for the disabled is architecturally documented.

Yes, there are initiatives by corporations and even the Government through wheelchair gifting, etc, but there needs to be a holistic approach to development. The disabled persons are no doubt grateful for the benevolence, but user-friendly spaces would facilitate independence and opportunity.

Let us be our brother’s keeper and actively lobby for their essential foundational support.

Concerned, concerned