Accessibility in Gozo was a major topic of discussion during a meeting between the Minister for Gozo Justyne Caruana and Commissioner for Persons with Disability, Oliver Scicluna.
They both agreed that since the country is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and in the light of the national policy in our country, “accessibility is crucial, even in Gozo.”
“Lack of accessibility – in its broadest sense and in terms of universal design – does not only affect people with disabilities, but people in general.” the Minister said.
Dr Caruana added that the Ministry for Gozo is undertaking several initiatives to ensure complete accessibility. Among those, is the Ministry’s instructions that new pavements being constructed meet the criteria set out in guidelines issued by the Commission itself.
She also mentioned the ongoing study being carried out on the administrative office building and the Ministry for Gozo building, to make them more accessible.
“This is because the buildings are old and do not fulfil all essential needs, therefore requiring refurbishment, which must be undertaken wisely,” said the Minister.
“Other projects related to accessibility include public conveniences that are the responsibility of the Ministry, and have now been refurbished. It is no longer acceptable to have public places that are not accessible to everyone,” stressed Minister Caruana.
She added that, “today on the national television station, through funding from the Ministry for Gozo, Ghawdex Illum can now be followed by a wider range of viewers through the use of subtitles.”
The Minister Caruana congratulated both the producers of this programme as well as the Board of Directors of TVM for understanding and implementing this initiative.
Mr. Oliver Scicluna Caruana thanked the Minister for the meeting and proactive attitude towards embracing the rights and the full inclusion of people with disabilities. He also commended the initiatives mentioned which he said are already achieving the desired results.
Mr Scicluna pointed out although it is acknowledged that accessibility should be given priority, the Commission will set up a section for enforcement in which it will have the role of regulator.
Mr Scicluna said that Gozitan residents can receive KNPD services through the Commission office located in the Sannat Primary School, which has been operating for the past three years.
Photo: MGOZ/Terry Camilleri