Minister of Human Development responds to BAPDA’s demand for more
In the news this week, you heard of the ordeal that the Belize Association for Persons with Diverse Abilities (BAPDA) is undergoing, and a case they have coined as very little interest or help for those with diverse abilities. Their cry did not fall on deaf ears as the Minister of Human Development, Dolores Balderamos Garcia, says they are looking to see how they can do more.
Dolores Balderamos Garcia, Minister of Human Development, Families and Indigenous People’s Affairs: “The Belize Association for Persons with Diverse Abilities who are really calling for more help but remember that the government is willing to give more help but the government cannot do everything. So we are calling on churches, we’re calling on communities, we’re calling on friendly organizations and societies to assist us. There was also a story of a disabled gentleman who is living in terrible squalor, he’s living in terrible squalor. Now that that has been brought to our attention it highlights the need for government and partners to do more and we will get onto it. However like I say I want to make the point that government cannot do everything and that we need the partnership with civil society, private sector and everybody. Of course as Mr.Theus pointed out yesterday $1,200 a month is paltry and so what we will try to do is to do referrals so that there can be attention to the organization in terms of outreach because I cannot just sit here and say we will double or triple or quadruple the money being given all of a sudden because there are so many needs in terms of the social program and also the responsiveness. Of course we will look at it to see if we can provide more assistance financially but remember that the money is not everything. If we have caring people in our society and I made the point this morning if we have caring people in our small society, face to face society, we can find help for Mr.Nathaniel and we can assist the BAPDA more because we would have had better coordination, better communication and more partnership so I think that’s the take away from today.”
In recent months, many cases of persons in need of help have chosen to come to the media, with the hope that officials will pay attention. Minister Balderamos-Garcia says she understands why those persons would resort to the media, but it doesn’t change her idea that there has to be all hands-on deck.
Dolores Balderamos Garcia, Minister of Human Development, Families and Indigenous People’s Affairs: “I wouldn’t say we’re overwhelmed. But naturally going to the media with a particular case can help. However if we improve the partnerships as I have said and the coordination and communication it may not have to get to that because then we can reach out to the Red Cross, we can reach out to the business community to maybe St.Ignatius Church I’m just giving an example of how we can help some of our more vulnerable people, the people with disabilities but I wouldn’t want to say that you only get attention when you come to the media. These are specific cases and our ministry is totally committed along with partners, for example if Mr.Nathaniel would have a medical issue what we will do is we will call the Ministry of Health and Wellness to see if they can assist us. So I wouldn’t say that you only get attention when you come to the media but these particular cases highlight the need for our ministries and the public and private sector to really coordinate more to give the level of attention and to raise the profile of the responsiveness that we give. You probably heard today about what we call a social protection floor, in other words people should not be living in squalor so this was an example of that. That with the social protection floor would mean that basic services are given, basic communication, basic issues that are deal with so that is how I would respond to that.”