Mother of a hearing impaired young lady disappointed in State Funeral coverage on sole Barbados TV Channel: Opposition MP sees new avenue for Tourism if handled correctly

I write this letter with a heavy heart in response to the absence of an Interpreter for the funeral service of our dearly departed Prime Minister the Honourable David Thompson.

My daughter awoke on Nov. 3rd, 2010 with the same intention as everyone in Barbados, as well as many others regionally and internationally, that was, to watch the funeral service of our departed Prime Minister. She took up position on my bedroom floor, literally six inches from the TV screen with blackberry phone in hand – texting and messaging her friends as she always does, giving a minute by minute account of the happening events.

I am the mother of a hearing impaired young lady, so I can give first-hand experience of her reaction on the day of the funeral service. {IMAGE COURTESY: Stephen R. Smith}

It was with shock at first, followed quickly by disappointment when she realized that there was no interpreter for the benefit of deaf individuals. She turned to me and asked me the all too familiar questions– “Why are the Deaf left out?” and “What happen to us?” I quickly switched into damage control mode and responded that there must have been an oversight on someone’s part! She gave me that “don’t insult my intelligence look”. How many times can it be an oversight? Her unspoken words said volumes.

My heart ached for my child because I am always telling her to go out and conquer, and she always comes right back and says “-– but mom, no one caters to the Deaf!” I was so distraught that I started making calls left, right and centre.  I eventually contacted a Minister and asked him to see if anything could be done at that late stage and he indicated that he would try, but alas he was not successful.

My daughter watched the whole programme and I could at times see the frustration on her face. I did my best to explain where I could, but this was not the ideal solution. I was indeed saddened at the turn of events! The funeral service was available for the entire world to see and many persons took the opportunity to view it.  I am sure that many persons would have noticed this oversight and were not happy about it. Indeed I received many calls on this matter.

“What message are we sending when we leave the differently-abled community out?” {IMAGE COURTESY: Stephen R. Smith}

We are judged sometimes very harshly by our actions – so to those who can make a difference, I ask that there be inclusion for the Deaf from here on in. Finally, can some one please answer my daughter’s question as to why the Deaf community was not included? She is tired of my answers so maybe she might listen to and appreciate what someone else has to say.

  • Denise Depradine
  • This is not the only person who expresses concern for how the physically challenged appear to be ignored… MP for St Michael North East, Mia Mottley – during her tenure as Opposition Leader – spoke to the BLP’s League of Young Socialists at Harrison College.

    She related a situation where her aunt is deaf-mute yet very lively and aware of her surroundings. Nevertheless, the family always made sure at least one able bodied person was around to care for the aunt, in case any difficulties arose.

    The St Michael North East MP was at Crumpton St recently and had very strong views on new avenues where Barbados can be a leader in earning foreign exchange - simply by respecting the rights and circumstances of the Physically Challenged (LYS' President Kevon Henry to Ms Mottley's right, immediate left for reader)

    If Ms Mottley’s parents had to go abroad they would carry the aunt along, which in Ms Mottley’s view was an advantage since overseas facilities appear to be more aware of those differently abled than places in Barbados are. This is a pity since there is much niche Tourism the country could capitalise on in such situations {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

    If Barbados becomes known for specialising and catering to the Physically Challenged then those disabled who still want to travel and can do so will choose Barbados before other destinations as a result.

    The St Michael North East representative also feels that any Government once in power should develop the required ancillary services to allow families of Physically Challenged to get a rest from their constant caretaking of those who are in need; she also feels that perhaps those who are less challenged can work with fully able folk to create internet portals which offer advice on looking after the differently enabled {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

    Mottley wants the League of Young Socialists to consider in partnering with Wheelchair bound yet Internet savvy folk and evise hubs and portals to cater to the needs and concerns of the Physically Challenged.

    If you recall, I have had many disputes over fully capable individuals usurping Parking spaces for the Disabled and I try to shame them where possible, since there’s no effective legislation with teeth – yet, perhaps if Ms Mottley ascends further in future and reaches Higher Offices, we can look forward to innovative developments in this area?

    When one takes a simple trip through Bridgetown and you have to go via wheelchair or crutches, not only is the travelling difficult as the sidewalks are not appropriately curved and arched at every move along the way from pavement to road; the attitudes of pedestrians is that the disabled entity moving along should not be there slowing traffic – I know this from having transported my diabetic mother in the City a few years aback and she told me ‘Never Again!‘ unless her Life depended on it…

    One of the worst places to accommodate the disabled is the National Union of Public Worker’s Horatio Cooke Auditorium, it uses stairs and no ramps whatsoever; diametrically opposed to such severe architecture is the Tom Adams Financial centre which has many curves, arches and ramps to allow for wheelchair bound citizens. The rest of Barbados must soon follow suit before we lose a potential source of Tourism due to arrogance of the “healthy” which is shown in the high-handed manner of televised coverage of the late PM Thompson’s State Funeral!

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