Budget measures would significantly improve lives of persons with disabilities

Dear Editor,
The Guyana Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities (GCOPD) wishes to congratulate the Government of Guyana for comprehensively addressing the needs of the disability community in the 2021 National Budget.
GCOPD acknowledges the inclusion of a specific category in the budget presentation of Dr Ashni Singh, Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, in which measures for the disability community were highlighted. We are optimistic that the measures highlighted would significantly improve the lives of PWDs across Guyana.
GCOPD wishes to highlight the increase in budgetary allocation to the Department of Disability and Rehabilitation Services for the fulfilment of the contents of the Guyana PWD Act. We also note the allocation of $120 million as a Special Disability Fund and the $30 million allocated for the establishment of a training centre in Mahaica for PWDs. We also highlight the increase of the monthly “Public Assistance” grant from $9,000 to $12,000. It must be noted that approximately 7,000 PWDs are beneficiaries of this grant.
Further, we recognise that budgetary allocations were made to address vocational skills’ training for PWDs through the Ministry of Labour’s Board of Industrial Training, and that allocations were made to the Ministry of Education to address Special Education Needs (SEN) within the public education system. We are also pleased that the Government has pledged to review the Guyana PWD Act, to ensure the articles are relevant and in sync with the current needs of the disability community.
We recognise and acknowledge the efforts of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic Government to fulfill their elections’ manifesto promise to the disability community. We are pleased that our persistent advocacy has resulted in positive outcomes, and that aspects of our “GCOPD Disability Manifesto” are being fulfilled. We also note that productive meetings with the current Ministers have led to the placement of Disability on the agenda for their respective Ministries.
We do look forward to a productive and continued partnership with the Government as we work to promote and fulfill the rights of PWDs.

Guyana Council
of Organisations for
Persons with
Disabilities (GCOPD)