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President Irfaan Ali on Wednesday facilitated a virtual meeting with members of the National Commission on Disability (NCD) where he reassured them of his government’s support that will enhance the welfare and living conditions of persons with disabilities in Guyana.
“We have an agenda that looks at improving the living conditions, the welfare and ensuring that we mainstream our efforts in relation to persons living with disabilities in the social and economic development of the country,” Ali is quoted in a DPI press release.
The President related that the approach is not being done in an “ad hoc manner,” since his Government has had engagements with different groups across the country and is already putting measures in place to enhance the lives of Guyanese with disabilities. He said that his Government made provisions in the budget to commence the construction of facilities, while it has also assisted through a one-off cash grant of $25,000 each for persons living with disabilities.
“Of course, we see this as just the beginning, we have to look at facilities throughout the country and in all the regions, so that we can better be able to provide services.”
JOB CREATION INITIATIVES
The Head of State also noted that the Government has engaged the private sector to help facilitate employment for persons with disabilities. He emphasised that technological advancement has made it easier for persons with disabilities to be able to work in certain industries, such as the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry since work can be done from home.
He indicated that his Government and new call centres are streamlining programmes to enhance the efficiency of the available technology, to help develop working opportunities for persons living with disabilities.
The President added that the Government is working on moving a number of its services to an online, ICT platform; high on the agenda is an effective 911 system and the development of an online Government query system. These systems will be designed to create working opportunities for persons living with disabilities.
The Head of State pointed out that this can help persons to be “economically empowered and that’s an important part of the equation. It is not just about providing the facilities and earmarking resources; it’s ensuring that they have an opportunity to actively participate in the advancement and development of the country”.
President Ali also noted that the Government is engaging the banking sector to help facilitate homeownership for persons living with disabilities.
“Of course the Government will have to actually step up in a bigger way and this will have to be a major part of our social outsourcing….I can assure you that we will work as hard as possible to ensure that we have greater integration and greater support for persons living with disabilities.”
Acting Chair of the NCD Vidushi Persaud-McKinnon praised President Ali for facilitating the meeting and for ensuring that provisions were made for persons with disabilities through the one-off cash grant.
She also said that she is pleased to hear all the steps and strategies that the Government has been embarking on as it relates to improving the lives, welfare and enhancing the opportunities for persons living with disabilities.