Websters Get Copy of Disabilities Law
Members of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) presented a bound copy of The Disabilities (Solomon Webster) Law, 2016 to the family of the late special Olympian on Tuesday, 19 September 2017.
Solomon Webster, who would have been 28 years old last Friday, died three years ago in a shooting near his home.
His parents, Caroline and David Webster attended the historic hand over of the law named after their son on behalf of his immediate family. The law is recognised as the first legislation of its kind in the Caribbean to protect the civil and political rights of people with disabilities.
Council member and Solomon Webster’s former high school teacher Shari Smith opened the ceremony. Austin Harris, Councillor for Human Resources, Immigration and Community Services also addressed the ceremony on behalf of the Premier, who was unavoidably absent, and advised that the previous administration had been passionate about passing the law.
“The Solomon Webster Law underpins the Government’s disability policy 2014-2033 and I am proud that we are the first Overseas Territory to have bespoke legislation dealing directly with disability issues,” said the Councillor.
He mentioned that since April 2017 the Council had been diligently focusing on the policy’s requirements, adding that the law “is a testament to the person Solomon Webster was in life, (a person) born with challenges, but didn’t let his disability impede him.”
Solomon Webster was a Special Olympics gold medallist, avid footballer and basketball player, and the Councillor thanked Solomon Webster’s parents for having raised “such an outstanding man.”
As an example of challenges faced by Solomon, it was noted that despite having held down a full-time job he could not get his own apartment, and despite evaluations which deemed him fit to work, he was still not allowed to live independently.
Citing the law as a “quantum leap in the promotion and protection of people with disabilities,” Councillor Harris said that law had received unanimous support in the Legislative Assembly.
In her remarks, before handing the bound copy of the law to the Websters, the Council’s Deputy Chairperson, Faith Gealey, said that their son had been “a young man who [had] focused on his abilities, not his disabilities.”
As an outstanding individual who did not let his disability define him, Ms Gealey said that, it was a fitting tribute to have the Disabilities Law named in his memory. She added that the goal of the NCPD is “to ensure that people with disabilities have access to education, health, employment and independent living.”
For further information contact: Elphina Jones