Mourning Service of late Barbadian Leader is Mute testimony for hearing impaired in Barbados & Region: Apology Demanded by Deaf Bajan Adult

From the moment our Prime Minister died, all of us Barbadians were in mourning. It was not only us in Barbados but also the Caribbean and the world who mourned and was able to watch “LIVE” or “STREAMING” on the internet, the State Funeral of our beloved Honorable Prime Minister David Thompson QC. MP. The service was held at Kensington Oval and the interment followed at St. John Parish Church where he served as leader for that parish St. John.

The Government of Barbados and Business Companies gave us permission to close our businesses until 1p.m to allow us to attend or watch the “LIVE BROADCASTING” to pay our final respects to the Late Prime Minister.

The Caribbean Broadcasting Cooperation and Government of Barbados are the ones who were responsible for this service. But there was a lack of service for us and the other deaf people across the Caribbean and internationally. We are citizens of Barbados and we are 100% Bajan.

I watched the full programme on the tv and I felt nothing because there was no one there to tell me what was going on. It was like sitting and watching a movie with no captioning. The persons who gave the eulogy spoke very emotionally, but I had no clue what they were talking about! I felt that it was discrimination towards the deaf community! The authorities keep “burying their heads in the sand” and we are being kept out! We want to be included!!

"I am a representative of the deaf community of Barbados, and although we like our sweet island, we are furious because neither we or the other deaf people from the Caribbean were able to see the State Funeral interpreted for us!" Lionel Smith; Deaf Bajan Adult

My friend asked me, “Where is the interpreter for CBC?” He felt sad and felt like there was no justifiable reason why the deaf were left out. One mainstreamed deaf student wrote, “I understand that interpreters support deaf people, but there were none interpreting for us. They discriminated against the disabled!

The Caribbean and the world watched and you saw the CBC logo with the title “BARBADOS” and I figured that other countries were watching it “LIVE”. It was so frustrating and showed a lack of respect for the deaf community not only in Barbados but the ones who were watching all over the world. The interpreters are supportive of the Deaf Community so why didn’t they listen to them? Doesn’t the Government care that we deserved to be included? We know that interpreters can say that there is a need for the service, but the Deaf community has the RIGHT to the service to have access to very important news and events!

Kerry-Ann Ifill is part of the disabled community and she is also a Senator. She was present and so she listened to everything that was said… But what about us who can’t hear voices? This is so much rubbish! I am furious and very frustrated because I could not be a part of the service.

I want to quote the National Anthem “We loyal sons and daughters all…” I think the word “WE” means “ALL” of Barbados. We are all equal! I am a citizen of Barbados and it should be access for all!!! David Thompson said and I quote “Hope for the Best and Prepare for the Worst”. We had the worse and now we can only hope for the best. I think the Deaf Community in Barbados and the Caribbean deserves an apology!

Lionel Smith
Deaf Barbadian Adult

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