Message from Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes ORTT, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on the occasion of the International Day of People with Disability 3rd December, 2018

As we celebrate the International Day of People with Disability, let us pledge our commitment to building a society that enables all persons with disabilities to achieve their greatest potential. This year’s theme, Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality highlights the importance of safeguarding and promoting the rights and dignity of all persons with disabilities.
Though our nation has formulated a National Policy on Persons with Disabilities and ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, there remains great work to be done, particularly with respect to changing prevailing societal attitudes on the matter.
Persons with disabilities are regularly denied the respect and dignity that they deserve and are often victims of abuse and discrimination. All sectors of society have a part to play in ensuring that they are afforded the opportunity to participate in all spheres of life. Persons with disabilities are individuals with rights and capabilities and should not merely be viewed as objects of charity or pity.
As Trinidad and Tobago seeks to fulfil the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, let us be firm in our commitment to ensure that no one is left behind. Let us resolve to close institutional and social gaps in protecting and advancing the rights of persons with disabilities.
I encourage every citizen to become actively involved in promoting empathy and awareness regarding persons with disabilities, to ensure that our nation attains its greatest potential. Let us all recommit to fostering an environment that is inclusive, empowering and safe for all persons with disabilities.