Hearing impaired persons given green light to write drivers’ examination
Following a protest by members of the Deaf Association of Guyana in front of the Public Security Ministry requesting that they be given a fair chance to drive on Guyana’s roadways without discrimination, the green light has been given for them to write the drivers’ examination.
Minister Khemraj Ramjattan has given the go-ahead to commence a pilot programme in A Division (Georgetown-East Bank Demerara), which will allow persons who have hearing impediments to participate in the theoretical and practical drivers’ examination on May 24.
The commencement of the pilot programme was agreed to when Ramjattan recently met with the National Commission on Disability and the Deaf Association of Guyana.
As such, six persons from the deaf community in Guyana will be included in the pilot project at a date to be announced later.
The pilot programme is one of the recommendations agreed to by Government to facilitate the issuance of driver’s permit to persons who have hearing impediments. The other recommendations include a rigorous national awareness campaign for the general populace including the beneficiaries and the implementation of issuances of driver’s license to deaf drivers only for private and not commercial vehicles taking into consideration the present infrastructural development and culture of driving on Guyana’s roadways.
On February 18 last, a group of persons from the Guyana Society for the Deaf protested the Public Security Ministry calling for drivers’ licences to be issued for them.
It was explained that they met with the Government some time ago to discuss the issue when they were assured it would have been discussed.
They said that the deaf should be given equal privileges as those who can hear and should not be discriminated against as they held their placards across from the Ministry.
Some of them contended that they have been driving for a very long time and was never involved in an accident while others argued that the deaf are treated equally in other countries and are allowed to drive but they are being discriminated against in their own country.
In relation to responding to emergency vehicles, those persons noted that they are capable of driving by using their mirrors to see what is happening around them.
The protesters said that because of how they are being treated, they are forced to use taxis even though many of them already have their own vehicles.
In the region, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Jamaica, Suriname, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru among other countries allow deaf drivers to obtain licences.