All Guyanese must demonstrate greater care, appreciation and consideration for the disabled, Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee said yesterday while noting that there are too many complaints, particularly from the visually impaired, about mistreatment.
During his remarks at a sensitisation seminar for the Guyana Police Force, the National Road Safety Council and others on obligations to persons with disabilities, he said he was awaiting the final report and recommendations from the engagement which may aid the ministry in fulfilling its obligations under the Persons with Disabilities Act 2010.
“I take this opportunity to urge all Guyanese, particularly motorists, to recognise the special circumstances of persons with disabilities and to demonstrate greater care and consideration for them. Members of the Guyana Police Force, traffic ranks in particular, are also urged to be even more responsive to persons with disabilities who they may encounter in the execution of their duties,” Rohee told those gathered at the seminar which was held at the Police Officers’ Mess Hall, Eve Leary. In remarks released by his ministry, Rohee said the ministry considers persons with disabilities as being just as deserving as all others in receiving the various government services including those provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs and its constituent agencies.
He said that was the reason that he “promptly responded” to a request by representatives of the Guyana Association of the Visually Impaired and convened a meeting on August 29 last to discuss matter of concerns to the association. This seminar, he said, was a product of those discussions and it was following the August meeting that the ministry immediately engaged the National Commission on Disabilities as the national oversight body for disability issues for further discussions.
“I wish to assure the Commission and indeed all persons with disabilities that the Ministry of Home Affairs will not shirk its responsibility to you, as provided for by law,” he said, while noting that the seminar targets members of the Guyana Police Force, the National Road Safety Council, volunteers and road safety stakeholders.
Rohee said it is important for the wider society to be sensitised on matters related to persons with disabilities. “It is important that citizens develop an appreciation for the circumstances of persons with disabilities. Too often we receive complaints from persons with disabilities, including visually impaired persons being aided by the ‘white cane’ about mistreatment meted out to them and even refusal of entry on public transportation, by operators.”
He added that “We also hear about the dangers experienced by visually impaired persons as a result of vehicles parked on pavements, which are intended for the safety of pedestrians. The ministry has had cause to intervene in specific reports about this occurrence on D’Urban Street, in the city.”