Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Special Rapporteur on Disabilities (CSRoD), Senator Dr. Floyd Morris, in a statement to observe International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), 3 December 2018, drew attention to the thin separation between being abled and being disabled. Calling for persons with disabilities to be treated with “dignity and respect” the CSRoD alluded to the high levels of violence and motor vehicle accidents in the Caribbean, and noted that “developing a disability [was] just a moment away”.
The recently appointed CSRoD reiterated his commitment to working with all the stakeholders in the Region, to drive the disability agenda to empower and to ensure inclusiveness and equality for the members of this vulnerable community.
“On December 3, 2018, the world will be observing International Day for Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). The theme for this year’s celebration is “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.” Such a theme is appropriately fitting and fittingly appropriate for a time as this. CARICOM, acting upon the recommendations contained in the Declaration of Pétion Ville which was adopted by regional governments in December 2013; has moved to appoint a CARICOM Special Rapporteur on Disability to lead the advocacy on behalf of this vulnerable community. I am proud to have been selected and appointed as the person to carry out this mandate.
As the Special Rapporteur on Disability, I commit to work with all the stakeholders within the region, to drive the disability agenda to empower persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality for the members of this vulnerable community. For too long, we have been isolating and marginalising a sizable portion of our brothers and sisters within the region and we must move with alacrity to ensure that they are brought in the mainstream of society.
The estimated one million persons with disabilities in the region never brought disabilities unto themselves. Neither did they create the environment that makes over 95% of them unemployed and over 85% of them living in a state of poverty. It is the social, political and economic environment that has created various barriers that have stymied the growth and development of these individuals and we must do everything in our powers to dismantle these barriers in order to empower persons with disabilities and include them in all areas of Caribbean life.
Disability respects no one. You can be fully abled today and disabled tomorrow. With the high levels of violence and motor vehicle accidents in the Caribbean, developing a disability is just a moment away. We must therefore treat persons who have a disability with dignity and respect: the same way one would want to be treated if one should develop a disability.
I am deeply committed to using a data driven approach, to intensify the lobbying efforts in the region in order to get governments and private sector, to understand the challenges of the community of persons with disabilities and to put in place programmes and policies for their advancement. I crave the support of all, as we work together to empower persons with disabilities and ensure an inclusive and equitable Caribbean for these individuals. Have a happy and progressive International Day for Persons with Disabilities.”
Senator Dr. Floyd Morris
CARICOM Special Rapporteur on Disabilities