“Enact laws that benefit us!”

“Enact laws that benefit us!”
Bahamas Association for the Physically Disabled President, Sheila Culmer.

The disabled community called on the government Wednesday to enact legislature that demands fair treatment of the disabled within the country.

Members of The Bahamas Association for the Physically Disabled (BAPD) gathered at the House of Assembly (HOA) yesterday, in an effort to raise public awareness, and catch the attention of lawmakers as it relates to various issues plaguing the disabled community.

“I think enforcement of laws, which govern how disabled persons should be treated, is one of the biggest challenges that this community faces,” noted BAPD President Sheila Culmer.

“We find that laws which relate to us are not being adhered to. There needs to be more respect shown for persons with disabilities.”

As May is being recognized as disabilities awareness month, the association had intended on executing a disability simulation with parliamentarians Wednesday morning, however. The attempt was unsuccessful, as a majority of parliamentarians were a no-show in the Lower Chamber.

The simulation, Culmer said, would have involved blindfolding or restraining the limbs of parliamentarians to give them first hand experience of the hardships a disabled person may encounter when trying to gain access to buildings such as the HOA, which is not disabled friendly.

Culmer shared a number of other annoyances, which she said, still plagues the disabled community.

“Some challenges that we face include something as simple as maneuvering on our streets. It’s very difficult. Transportation is definitely a challenge as well. A number of disabled persons have problems with finding housing, and finding employment is definitely a huge issue for us,” she said.

“In terms of the bill, one in every 100 persons in the employment arena should be disabled. I really do not think that is being enforced.

“We are hoping that following our efforts today, that the disabled will be brought into the forefront of what is going on. We hear about a lot of improvements that are happening around the country, but I am not hearing much about what is happening for the disabled.”

The Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development has responsibility for the welfare of disabled persons within The Bahamas.

In light of the disabled association’s grievances aired on Wednesday, Eyewitness News attempted to get a comment from Social Services Minister Lanisha Rolle, however. Those attempts were unsuccessful.