Affordable access to health insurance, improving employment opportunities, and appropriate education were all concerns raised by residents during the public consultation process for the recently drafted Cayman Islands disability policy for the years 2014-2033.
“Stakeholders involved with developing the Cayman Islands Disability Policy are close to wrapping up the process,” said Robert Lewis, chairman of the disability policy steering committee.
“After endorsement by the steering committee, this draft policy is expected to be considered by Cabinet within weeks,” said Mr. Lewis.
“Along with the policy, Cabinet will be asked to consider the creation of supportive legislation, including the establishment of a National Council for Persons with Disabilities to act as a watchdog for implementation of the policy,” he added.
About 200 residents responded to the public consultation, which launched in April, Mr. Lewis said.
“Respondents took the opportunity to voice their concerns, challenges, and wishes which may not have been heard otherwise,” he said.
The draft policy seeks to provide quality services and the right to access for some 3,000 disabled residents in the Cayman Islands.
The 2010 census, cited in the disability policy, provides figures of disabled residents in general categories. It found that some 2,993 people Cayman residents had some form of disability.
The most common disabilities involved sight (788 people) and lower limb disabilities (516 people).
Mr. Lewis said the feedback generally was positive, “with many responders welcoming the policy, while some expressed concerns that it should be implemented soon and not ‘left on a shelf.’”
Respondents voiced their concerns through surveys, public meetings and emails.
Mr. Lewis said the most common concerns were “affordable access to health insurance, improving employment opportunities and appropriate education.”
He said the feedback proved valuable and prompted amendments to the draft, which shortly will undergo vetting by the legal subcommittee of the steering committee to ensure that it meets constitutional and legal requirements.