Govt to examine new efforts to assist persons with disabilities

…security concerns of Guyana Society for the Blind to be addressed

Human Services and Social Security Minister, Dr Vindhya Persaud on Friday met with disability rights activist Ganesh Singh to discuss major improvement plans that the Ministry has on stream for the disability community, especially as it relates to training.
During the meeting at her Lamaha and East Streets office, Persaud spoke with Singh on security concerns by members of the Guyana Society for the Blind, especially in the context of Singh’s robbery earlier this week. Persaud gave an undertaking that the Ministry will be looking to see what assistance it can give to as it relates to concerns about a safe venue. A release from the Ministry following the meeting stated that Singh, who is also the Programme Coordinator of the Guyana Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities, will play a huge role in helping the Ministry determine the way forward regarding new efforts for persons with disabilities.

Human Services Minister Dr Vindhya Persaud and Permanent Secretary Shannielle Hoosein-Outar meeting with GCOPD Programme Coordinator Ganesh Singh

“It was a very, very productive meeting and I was actually taken aback with the Minister’s vision for disability. It’s clear and in sync with what we want so I am optimistic and very excited to work along with this Ministry,” Singh expressed following the meeting, adding that Persaud is very practical about the way things are done.
Singh was able to share his ideas on programmes that the Ministry wants to roll out for teenagers, young adults, and those in the disability community who may not have had access to any formal training.
Meanwhile, as Blindness Awareness Month is being observed in May, President of the Guyana Society for the Blind, Cecil Morris said mainly virtual activities are planned owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, he called attention to the issue of security for the members of the society and noted that a number of blind persons have been robbed over the past few months, both in the compound and while on their way into the compound. “This security issue has been an ongoing one with no concrete solution from the authorities. The area is known to have a lot of thieves,” he pointed out.
Explaining some of the other issues at the society, Morris said for the past two years, the building has been flooding even when there is limited rainfall. Also, the sewerage system that is connected to the building is blocked and the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) field workers are unable to find the blockage or the plan for the area. As a result, there is constant back up of waste materials.
Additionally, vagrants and other citizens use the area, mainly the driveway to the compound, as a dumpsite, and yet another issue is the absence of adequate funding to manage the organisation and provide services to the membership.
The Guyana Society for the Blind is a national organisation of and for the blind and is governed by an act of Parliament. The organisation has been in existence since 1953 at its present location and has been providing services to the blind community in various areas.
The GCOPD, on the other hand, is a collaborative forum which was established in January 2008 and is made up of representatives of different organisations for persons with disabilities. Its members meet regularly to support each other with the objective of building a stronger disability movement in Guyana.