The United Nations has proclaimed December 3rd each year as International Day for Persons with Disabilities. This year, 2021, finds the disabled still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As is known, persons who require home care and other forms of special care were disproportionately affected by the pandemic. As such, greater attention needs to be paid to protecting the vulnerable sections of society during the ongoing recovery.
The keys to a successful recovery are inclusion and sustainability. In this regard, I welcome the theme of this year’s International Day for Persons with Disabilities 2021: “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.”
As I have alluded to before, my Government is committed to establishing an inclusive democracy that will give voice to and involve constructive engagement with the disabled community. We are prepared to work with our most vulnerable to guarantee a greater role for them in decision-making, to generate their own pathways to personal development and to tap into their undervalued potential.
We will seek sustainable solutions to the plight of the disabled. Emphasis will be placed on empowering them economically and socially, enhancing their skills, supporting them with long-term social protection, and providing rehabilitate care where necessary.
The disabled are entitled to the full benefits of citizenship, including free nursery, primary and secondary education and, eventually by 2025, free university education. They are entitled to free treatment at public health institutions, to apply for social protection and government house lots, and to enjoy freedom from discrimination in employment.
As Guyana joins with the rest of the international community in observing International Day for Persons with Disabilities 2021, I once again assure the disabled that my Government will work with them for an inclusive and sustainable future.