Elder Affairs Minister Kirk Humphrey is once again insisting that for the total protection of persons with disabilities and the elderly in our society, everything should not have to be legislated.
We do not need legislation for people to treat people right
Speaking on Down to Brasstacks today, Sunday, February 26, Humphrey after mentioning the impending policies and legislation to be placed on the books this month and by yearend, he added:
“Beyond the legislation, there are some things that trouble me, that do not require legislation.
“We do not need legislation for people to treat people right. That is just a part of our culture, and unfortunately those mechanisms of care that used to define us have broken down. And we have to work on that.”
His contribution comes mere hours after the former Elder Affairs minister and Member of Parliament for St Thomas Cynthia Forde lambasted persons in the community who are charging the elderly when they offer them assistance. She called them “criminal”.
Humphrey today said that the strong messages of inclusion need to be sent far and wide so that everyone is aware.
“We have to work on a lot more PR [public relations] and a lot more positivity.”
our focus this year is going to be on implementation
The minister wants to see it become first nature that the target groups are involved in the discussions and the activities which involve them. He said that inclusivity needs to be a priority.
“I don’t think it has to come to a point where the government has to say, for example, to a call-in programme host, if you’re talking to persons with disabilities [pwds], get a person with disabilities on the call. You want to know how to make banking right [for pwds]? Talk to someone who has a disability.
“So we’ve been having these conversations and excluding people. So our focus this year is going to be on implementation; it’s going to be on inclusion.”
Hearing a member of the community of persons with disabilities on the call lament about accessibility issues and watching policies made for them without them, Humphrey was echoed a sentiment similar to the one he made when delivering his address at the opening ceremony of The Livity Project: Policy Forum on Inclusive Approaches to Justice earlier this year in January 2023. At that time, he said, “I know that unless I meet [with members of the group], I will not hear from the people who understand the realities and who have the solutions. That is what we must do in relation to elderly, disabilities, in relation to gender, in relation to all things for which we know we have responsibility,”
Humphrey told the call-in programme, it is his hope that as this year goes by, through the actions and plans of his ministry that the island’s persons with disabilities will feel “less frustration” living in our society.