Government Action on Disability Policy
A Global Survey
Part II - Government Replies as Country Profiles

Barbados

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© Dimitris Michailakis 1997

Transmitted by Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York (11 June 1996)
Compare with the following Country Report(s): DPI


General policy

The officially recognized disability policy is expressed in guidelines adopted by the Government, in guidelines adopted by a national disability council, and in policy adopted by political parties. The emphasis in this policy is on prevention, and rehabilitation.

Accessibility

Special transport is available for medical treatment, education, work and recreational purpose. When planning to build accessible environments the most difficult obstacles are economic/budgetary factors, lack of legislation and regulations, and lack of enforcement mechanisms.

Sign language is recognized as the official language of deaf people, is used as the first language in education of deaf people and is recognized as the main means of communication between deaf persons and others. There are no Government measures for encouraging other forms of public information to make their services accessible to persons with disabilities. The following services are provided in order to facilitate information and communication between persons with disabilities and others: literature in Braille/tape, news magazines on tape/Braille, sign language interpretation for any purpose.

Organizations of persons with disabilities

There is a national umbrella organization. There are no legal provisions mandating the representatives of persons with disabilities to participate in policy-making and to work with Governmental institutions. Organizations are sometimes consulted when laws and regulations with a disability aspect are being prepared. Consultations take place at the national level. Persons with disabilities participate to a very limited extent in Government, legislature, judicial authorities and political parties and to a great extent in NGOs. The organizations in Barbados have the role to advocate rights and improved services, mobilize persons with disabilities, identify needs and priorities, and contribute to public awareness.

Co-ordination of work

The national co-ordinating committee is reporting to the Ministry of Community Development and Labour. The committee includes representatives of the Ministries of Health and Social Affairs, of Education, and of organizations of persons with disabilities. The Government expects the co-ordinating committee to participate in policy development. It is too early for an assessment about the effects from the establishment of the co-ordinating committee.

The adoption of the Rules has led to a rethinking of the approach to disability policy.



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