24 March, 2018, 12:00 am
THERE is a dire need for all the disabled persons associations in Fiji to work well together, says Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum stressed this while addressing the participants of the 2018/2019 National Budget consultation at the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons (FNCDP) hall in Brown St, Suva.
The consultation heard different views, submissions and concerns from the various associations of disabled persons.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said a lot of special schools and associations were “doing their own thing”, which needed a cohesive approach.
“We need to work well together please, especially now we have the proper laws please.
“For us to be able to get the proper data, to be able to get more funding in areas required, we need to ensure that the sort of accountability is important too,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
“We know that some associations in the past, money have not been necessarily been accounted for and we need to do that.”
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said cohesion at that level would make it a lot easier, particularly with procurement towards disabled persons organisations.
Summary of some submissions:
* Nausori Special School head teacher Salesh Deo made a proposal to Mr Sayed-Khaiyum for the construction of a new vocational training centre in Nausori.
Mr Deo said the proposed training centre would particularly cater for persons with disability from the Rewa, Tailevu and Naitasiri provinces.
* Fiji Vocational and Technical Training Centre for Persons with Disability (FVTTCPD) acting principal Jone Vueti requested Mr Sayed-Khaiyum for extra teaching staff at their institution.
Mr Vueti said they currently had three teachers provided by the Ministry of Education, which was not in line with the national teacher to student ratio. He also raised concerns on the Tertiary Education Loans Scheme (TELS) provision towards which was discontinued for their students.
* A request was made for Government to provide allocation in the new 2018/2019 budget towards the appropriate ministry to ensure that evacuation centres are disability friendly.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said in Fiji, there were no dedicated full time disaster rehabilitation centres, where generally schools were used.
He however highlighted that many of the schools that were being rebuilt, about 95 per cent, now had some form of proper planning and certification.
* Pranay Chand, a person with a disability, highlighted his plight of certain taxi operators who refused to take him to his destination because of his condition.
Mr Chand also claimed that at certain times, particular taxi operators refused to provide taxi service to him and his family at a discounted rate of 20 per cent, a concession made compulsory.
“Sometimes drivers deny us When they see a disabled person coming to the taxi base, they make excuses that they’ve got a job to do,” Mr Chand said.
“But they don’t say directly that ‘we can’t take you’. They say no.”
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum confirmed that he had heard similar reports and urged Mr Chand to record the taxi number along with report specific details of time and place to be dealt with.
* Spinal Injury Association of Fiji head of operations Mere Rodan requested Government for the possibility of providing free medical consumables, particularly for people living with disabilities.
“We may be people with disabilities but we all differ in medical needs. Most of us are in need of wheelchair, support which has its own particular medical consumable need.
“Is there a possibility of free consumables,” she said.