Hope on horizon for legislation to protect disabled

| 04/10/2009

(CNS): Given that the Bill of Rights that Cayman finally settled on does not offer rights to people with disabilities, the need for legislation to protect the more vulnerable members of the community from discrimination is widely accepted as long overdue. This week Minister of Education Rolston Anglin, and his Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues said that the ministry would be supporting the development of new legislation based on a report which was tabled in the House more than four months ago.

A committee established more than two years ago, Planning the Future for Persons with Disabilities in the Cayman Islands Steering Committee, has beenworking on reviewing the situation people with disabilities face in Cayman, as well as developing strategies to improve their lives and their rights.  The committee comprises representatives from the Education and Health ministries, practitioners from the Department of Education Services, HSA, Children and Family Services, and the Legal Department, along with parents of clients of both Lighthouse School and Sunrise Centre. 

The committee found a desperate need for a comprehensive law for persons with disabilities and formed a legal subcommittee, which produced a report that was laid in the Legislative Assembly in May 2009.

Since then, the committee has been drafting instructions for new legislation, promoting the report to the wider community, receiving public feedback on the report, and looking at policies which can be executed prior to the implementation of the law to improve the lives of the disabled as soon as possible.  

Anglin reiterated his commitment to continuing the work of these committees. “After careful review I am anxious to continue this work and take the report forward to the next stages which will involve public review and debate,” Anglin said. “Persons with disabilities in Cayman have long been pushed into the shadows, but through the work of these two committees and the development of this report, there is a much more positive future that our persons with disabilities and their families can look forward to.”

Rodrigues added that this report is the first of its kind in Cayman for persons with disabilities. “We anticipate that the report will lead the way in helping us to develop much-needed legislation to protect the rights and enhance the quality of life of this important segment of our population,” she said. “With the leadership of the committee and the support and collaboration of key stakeholders, I am confident that we can make a real difference.

She also advised that the committee will strategise on how best to address critical needs for improvements in facilities, and will plan a comprehensive PR campaign.

Mitzi Callan, a parent of a person with disabilities and a member of the Steering Committee and Legal Subcommittee said she was thrilled that Anglin was championing the cause.

“It is so important, not only to the persons themselves, but to their families too. I truly hope that we can move forward in a timely manner and I anticipate continuing my role on these two committees and working with the Ministry of Education on this initiative,” she said.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Well done Rollie! We’re proud to see you handle that ‘judas kiss’ from Julianna so gracefully. We all know that Mac saw you as a threat,  as you’d clearly be a much more respected LoGB, and set this up to get you out of his way.   

    Please consider joining up with KT and AM to help them form a more effective opposition. You’d do Cayman a great service by being part of an effective opposition to dictator Mac.

  2. Anonymous says:

    well done. long overdue.

  3. Batman says:

    Can we please deal with all forms of active discrimination in one bill?  Otherwise it will be validation of other discrimination.  I am sure that no-one in government actively supports discrimination on grounds of sexuality, so why not include that in the bill? It is needed in Cayman.