CCDA grapples with challenges
President of the Cornwall Combined Disabilities Association (CCDA), Garcia Burchell, says members of his organisation are still grappling with challenges in accessing education, transport, health care, and other social amenities.
According to Burchell, the association is calling on the Government to make provisions for at least two buses, each equipped with a ramp to enable persons with disabilities the chance to travel with dignity. He said most schools within the county of Cornwall do not cater to the disabled, as they have no ramps or facilities to accommodate them.
"There are two cases that come to mind; one of a young man who should attend classes, but the classroom was upstairs and there was no ramp at the school, so it posed a major difficulty for him," Burchell told Western Focus.
"Another is of a girl who struggles to get into a vehicle every time she travels from Montego Bay to Falmouth to attend classes, and she is charged exorbitant sums. We need a system that can enforce certain legislation needed to regulate how the taxi operators handle charges like that," he added.
He said most of the buildings that offer services that the disabled would like to access are not equipped to facilitate them.
"What we are asking the Government to do is to ensure that the new building code is fully enforced, especially the aspect relating to the provision of ramps and other facilities which would grant ready access to these buildings," he said.
In relation to the general state of the country's roadways, he recommended that sidewalks have sections for the disabled to enter and disembark, and that all manholes be covered as, when left uncovered, they put not only the visually impaired, but all users of the roadway at risk.
Vice-president Robert Blake said the organisation has already written to the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing outlining their concerns, but, so far, nothing has been done.
"So we have been left in the cold. In another instance, we are trying to get a caddy cart for the Sandy Bay HEART school, to make life easier for our members who are to attend that institution for training. The wheelchairs cannot manage because of the hilly terrain," he said.
He also supported his colleague in calling on the authorities to ensure that new housing developments adhere to the law and make the necessary provisions to accommodate the disabled, under the new building code. He said state ministries, departments and agencies such as the parish councils and the National Works Agency should ensure that some of these houses are equipped with ramps.