Bahamas News

Bahamas Social Services Minister Opens Inaugural Equal Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities Conference

#Bahamas, October 7, 2017 – Nassau – The Bahamas Government will not renege on its commitment to ending disability discrimination and ensuring the equality of opportunities and the inclusion of persons with disabilities in Bahamian society.

“This Government is fully committed to upholding the legal and moral obligation to include and provide equal opportunity to persons with disability who are equal partners to the past, the present and promising future,” said the Hon. Lanisha Rolle, Minister of Social Services and Urban Development.

Minister Rolle addressed the first conference designed to raise awareness of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities Act 2014) Bahamas, and the administration of the law.

The conference was sponsored by the Law Department and Law Society of the University of The Bahamas (UB) in conjunction with the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development.   It was held at the Harry C. Moore Library Auditorium, University of The Bahamas (UB) on October 4, 2017.

Minister Rolle remarked that the conference is evidence of the will of Bahamians and institutions to acknowledge and include the disabled community as a group equally entitled to protection of the right of non-discrimination as outlined in the Constitution.

“The passage of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities) Act and the comprehensive provisions of the legislation make it inarguably one of the most important pieces of human rights, social justice and anti-discrimination legislation in our modern Bahamas.

0G7A9612“Indeed, as a nation we cannot effectively advance emotionally, physically or collectively unless we take steps to ensure that ‘no one is left behind’.

The Disability Act is intended to do just that.

“The core purpose of the Act is to achieve the equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities and to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disabilities.

“The landmark Persons with Disabilities Act ensures dignity and protects the rights of persons with disabilities to fully participate in every aspect of society on an equal basis with others.” said Minister Rolle.

She remarked that the Government, through the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, and the joint efforts of the Disability Affairs Division, the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities will continue to work to enable the disabled through effective policies and programs.    “We hear the cries of the community of persons with disabilities for better access to employment and educational opportunities; for the provision of accessible public transportation; for better access to proper healthcare; and for better accessibility to buildings and services.   Indeed, as the chief representing agency for persons with disabilities, we see it as our duty to give attention to and address these matters promptly and effectively.”

The inaugural event, she said, heralds a “renewed” sense of cooperation and collaboration between government and important stakeholders within the society who are needed to assist in the quest to build a better Bahamas.

Minister Rolle congratulated and commended the organizers for hosting the “needed” dialogue regarding disability rights.  Other speakers included: Dr. Linda Davis, Provost, UB; Dr. Peter Maynard, Head of Law Department, Social Sciences, UB and Justice of the Supreme Court, the Hon. Bernard Turner.

By: Kathryn Campbell (BIS)

Header Photo:  The Hon. Lanisha Rolle, Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, opens the inaugural Equal Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities Conference at the University of The Bahamas, October 4, 2017.  (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

Insert:  A cross-section of the audience.

(BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)


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