Transformative Solutions for Inclusive Development – Guyana commemorates the
International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD)
The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) on
December 3 was proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3.
The global observance of the IDPD aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and
mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.
Guyana for over three decades has made significant progress in the protection of the
fundamental rights of persons with disabilities. Notably, preceding the signing of the
International Convention on the Rights of Persons on Disabilities, a National Commission on
Disability was appointed by President Dr. Cheddi Jagan in 1997 to advocate for the rights of
persons with disabilities and coordinate efforts to meet the needs of the population in key
sectors. The insertion of the anti-discriminatory clause in the Guyana constitution in 2001
which included persons with disabilities, the enactment of the Persons with Disabilities Act of
2010, following the signing in 2007, and, subsequent ratification of the International
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2014, all laid the framework
for the protection and promotion of rights of person with disabilities.
Further, the Government of Guyana has consistently improved systems and infrastructure to
better reach the needs of persons living with disabilities (PLWD), including through the
introduction of a “Special Education Needs” unit within the Ministry of Education, the
provision and increase of public assistance for PLWD, the introduction of special needs
educations schools, rehabilitation facilities and the establishment for a Regional Diagnostic
Centre, and the training of teachers to identify learning disabilities and treat with them more
In the last year, the government has been focusing on the integration of persons with
disabilities into mainstream society rather than being treated in an exclusive manner from
rest of society. The provision of training opportunities specifically catered to PLWD through
the Board of Industrial Training and the National Vocational Training Centre for PLWD,
creating access for women with disabilities to training under the WIIN project, as well as
access to small grants to create small businesses are all having a major impact on the lives
and hopes of many persons with disabilities. The new incubation and business centre in
Region 6 for persons with disabilities will be replicated in other parts of the country over time.
Most recently, an innovative cash grant of Gy$100,000.00 was provided to all PLWD under
the age of 18 years to assist parents and guardians to better provide for their special children,
and to cushion the effects of the pandemic and the global food and fuel crises. This was
executed through an in-depth process in every community across Guyana to identify children
with disabilities to ensure that it was an inclusive and participatory exercise including not just
health care workers, social workers, and teachers but also the Amerindian Village Councils.
This was the first time that such data was collected nationally and now there is a more realistic
and comprehensive register of all the children in Guyana with disabilities. The data generated
from this national intervention will be used to conduct epidemiological studies to mitigate
causal factors, inform national transformative policy development and national budgetary
allocations under the various relevant sectors. All children on this database are also
automatically being transitioned permanently to access public assistance monthly without
any periodic assessments. This will also apply to adults with disabilities as they too will be
transitioning permanently to the public assistance programme.
These are just a few of the multitude of efforts and measures implemented to ensure that
persons who are rendered vulnerable due to their disability status are catered for and have
equal rights, equal opportunity and equitable access to good and services in Guyana. The
PPP/C Government recognizes the importance of comprehensive inclusion and participation,
and in that regard includes PLWD in decision making at various levels. Through the Ministry
of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance’s National Stakeholder Forum, over the past two
years, PLWD have been engaged and included in conversations regarding COVID-19, the Low
Carbon Development Strategy, Electoral Reform and other matters of national interest. The
Representation of the People Act has been amended to ensure that accessibility to the polling
stations by persons with disabilities is provided and addressed. The Ministry is further
honored to share a strong working relationship with the state agencies and civil society
organisations that represent the interest of PLWD.
In keeping with the theme “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of
innovation in fueling an accessible and equitable world “, the Ministry is proud to have
hosted, on November 28, 2022, a training workshop on the ‘Convention on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities’ with representatives of Government Ministries, Constitutional
Bodies, Statutory Bodies and other key stakeholders. This training workshop created
opportunities for participants to better understand the convention and its implications on all
sectors, and also provided a more comprehensive view of the positive social impacts of the
inclusion of PLWD.
Guyana continues to positively transform its human rights landscape, and the Government
commits to ensuring that the participation of vulnerable populations such as PLWD is
effectively coordinated to guarantee inclusive development as part of President Irfaan Ali’s
One Guyana vision, in which every child is special and has access to all the best that Guyana
can offer regardless if they are challenged differently than other children. This is our vision.