The Government of Montserrat must take the lead on creating an environment where people with visual disabilities and other physical challenges can continue to work. This was the consensus of the members of a panel discussion held last week on local radio.
On Wednesday, August 25, Nerissa Golden, Editor of Discover Montserrat and Projects Officer for the Montserrat Association of Persons with Disabilities (MAPD) led a panel discussion on ZJB Radio Montserrat on Work and Visual Disabilities.
The panelists were Vice President of the MAPD Steve “IceMan” Weekes, MAPD Information Officer and President of the Friends of Overseas Territories Blogger Craig Brewin, Labour Commissioner Rudolph Christopher and President of the Montserrat Civil Servants Association (MCSA) Nyota Mulcare.
Labour Commissioner Rudolph Christopher shared that the Labour Code explicitly states that there should be no discrimination. However, this is not case says MCSA President Mulcare. She reiterated that anyone can become disabled at any time. Their family obligations will remain and they should be allowed the opportunity to be reskilled to allow them to continue to work. She gave examples of former government employees who suffered injuries which left the unable to work in their roles but who still have the capacity to do meaningful work.
There were also voice clips from two visually impaired women Harjinder Jutle, who is the head of Procurement for the Government of Montserrat and Brenda Cassell, a certified tennis trainer who recently returned to the island.
Both shared their experiences of working in the United Kingdom and on Montserrat while living with a visual disability. While Brenda is currently unemployed on island, she said one of the biggest challenges here is that people don’t believe she is blind.