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Naming and shaming has to be next course of action

Dear Sir,

If I sound frustrated, I am. Mightily. I wrote to The Royal Gazette more than a year ago on this very subject. Nothing has changed.

I speak of the discrimination practices, not to mention flouting of the law on this island towards people with disabilities. In my case, in a wheelchair.

In the year since writing, I have pursued this issue with government ministers, government departments, restaurateurs, retail shops, and on and on. All who bothered to respond at all did so with varying degrees of disinterest.

To be precise, I first called my MP, who referred me to the minister responsible for seniors, who referred me to the office for Ageing and Disability Services, which should be advocating on behalf of this segment of the community. They didn’t respond at all.

I also contacted the transport minister — I can’t get on his beautiful, new “state-of-the-art” buses, either. The result? Nothing.

Oh, yes, I also brought in the Corporation of Hamilton.

Not one to give up easily, I checked on the planning regulations, and lo and behold, there it is. All new builds must have disability access. Furthermore, all renovations to existing buildings must comply and include disability access. I’ve checked; it’s not rocket science. If you don’t want to install a permanent structure, you can purchase portable ramps of varying sizes from local medical suppliers.

The logical next step; I approached the Human Rights Commission. Finally, someone was listening. They, of course, are fully aware of the problem, but unfortunately their hands are tied. If I want them to bring a case of discrimination, I have to name someone.

Well, of course, my choices are endless and I can do this. Do I pick one and have them hauled into court or is my next step to publicly name and shame? I would rather they comply out of a sense of responsibility.

I am running out of patience and would ask for some sense of responsibility or human understanding. Maybe I should have a list published of those who are in compliance and those who are not. I’ll think about that. Seriously.

In closing, I’ll take this opportunity to thank those establishments that have complied with the law and made their places of business accessible to all, as well as providing a level of comfort and inclusiveness to me. And many others.



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Published June 20, 2024 at 7:59 am (Updated June 20, 2024 at 7:21 am)

Naming and shaming has to be next course of action

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