Guyana Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities Public Relations Officer Ganesh Singh said the local paralympics committee is preparing to pull off the 2013 national paralympics games.
During an exclusive interview with Guyana Times International on Friday, Singh said the games will be staged while the committee continues to work to finalise its draft constitution in order to be recognised locally, which has been developed from consultations in all 10 administrative regions.
Last year, the committee conducted consultations and the feedback was dispatched to the Labour Ministry’s Co-op Division for its recommendations.
Those recommendations have since been adopted and added to the draft constitution, which is being fine-tuned to form a fully-developed constitution, in order to allow the body to seek recognition from the International Paralympics Committee.
Guyana Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities President Cecil Morris and Singh are members of the Paralympics Committee.
Culture, Youth and Sport Minister Dr Frank Anthony told this newspaper that the committee has been formed and work has begun. He detailed that some measures had been put in place to have the local committee receive assistance from the Trinidad and Tobago Alliance for Sport and Physical Education. A workshop was also conducted by the Trinidad Alliance and the proposed constitution was updated. Dr Anthony confirmed that the committee’s agenda was mapped out for the year and a report was submitted.
Back in March, Minister Anthony pointed out that there was a great urgency for the establishment of a paralympics committee in Guyana.
The culture minister revealed that there have been several attempts to have the body constituted in recent years, but this had been compounded by a myriad of issues, chief among them is the failure to include persons living with disabilities on that committee.
Dr Anthony explained that Guyana had failed to meet all the necessary requirements to be recognised by the international paralympics body. He, however, expressed hope that the situation would be rectified by year-end.
“If we are to get it done by year-end, we can have many gold medals at the Olympics, but we have not been utilising these opportunities because the structures are not in place. If we work closely together, we can get it done by year-end,” the sport minister said.
Dr Frank Anthony
Singh, who is famous for his role in blind cricket, has been a prominent advocate for the community of persons with disabilities. He said Guyanese must refrain from treating differently-abled persons as objects of charity and display greater levels of sensitivity during interactions. He stated that persons living with disabilities are not asking for special rights, but at the very least to be treated as equal members of society, with meaningful contributions.