Persons with disabilities must have a voice: The BahamasListen /
NARRATOR: We must ensure that persons with disabilities have a voice in the elaboration of the post-2015 development framework, the Minister of Social Services and Community Development of the Bahamas Melanie Griffin told a UN High-level meeting on the Realization of the Millennium Development Goals and other Internationally Agreed development Goals for persons with Disabilities.
She said the voices of more than one billion persons with disabilities, roughly 15 per cent of the world’s population, must be heard, not only today during this high-level meeting, but in the fast approaching years to 2015 and beyond.
“Disability-inclusive development is critical if we are to achieve sustainable development and ‘The Future We Want’. The inter-linkages are clear. However, in our efforts to achieve sustainable development we must not overlook the importance of ensuring a human rights-based approach.”
NARRATOR: Minister Melanie Griffith says the mandate of the Disability Affairs division in the Ministry of Social Affairs in The Bahamas includes advocating and promoting the advancement and empowerment of persons with disabilities. She says The Government of The Bahamas also provides annual subventions to disability related Non-Governmental Organizations and benefits to disadvantaged disabled children under the age of 16 years. However, The Bahamas faces a number of challenges as other Member States in the delivery of disability-related services to the local community, which she says are exacerbated by the fact that they are a nation of several islands in which all programmes and services must be duplicated. She said these challenges must be addressed if we are to be a truly inclusive society.
This is Donn Bobb reporting.