BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – On June 21 and 22, 2022 the Canadian Government funded Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean (IMPACT Justice) Project and the Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) Project collaborated to host a Conference on Access to Justice for Persons with Disabilities.
This Conference served to discuss and update the information provided in the IMPACT Justice, December 2021 study entitled “Report on Access to Justice for Persons with Disabilities in CARICOM Countries”. The study included results from surveys conducted in the OECS in 2017 and from most CARICOM countries in 2020.
At the opening of the Conference on June 21 Madam Justice Maureen Rajnauth-Lee, Judge of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) delivered welcome remarks on behalf of Justice Adrian Saunders, president of the CCJ. Professor Velma Newton, regional project director of the IMPACT Justice Project and Gloria Richards-Johnson, regional project director of the JURIST Project also delivered remarks on behalf of their respective projects.
Also speaking at the opening session were, Senator Dr Floyd Morris, the CARICOM Special Rapporteur on Persons with Disabilities, who provided a synopsis of the articles of the United Nations Convention on Persons with Disabilities, which sets out the standards to which Member States should aspire, and Dr Jason Haynes, Deputy Dean, (Graduate Studies and Research) the UWI, Cave Hill Campus and lead consultant on the IMPACT Justice Report, who gave an overview of the methodology, findings and recommendations of the study. Both presentations were very well received.
Representatives from 11 CARICOM countries participated in the Conference in-person and on Zoom and presentations were made by each participating country outlining new developments in each country to improve the lives of persons with disabilities and also highlighting new information to be included in the revised report to be completed by IMPACT Justice later this year.
On day 2 of the Conference, Justice Adrian Saunders, president of the CCJ attended the opening session and gave brief remarks. He congratulated the IMPACT Justice and JURIST Projects on spearheading the initiative and noted the importance of such a forum to highlight and advance the cause of persons with disabilities. Justice Saunders also spoke of the CCJ’s commitment to exemplifying for regional judiciaries, how to make courts and court proceedings accessible and adaptable to the needs of persons with disabilities.