Barbados Council for the Disabled

The year 1976 saw the birth of the Barbados Council for the Handicapped out of a need to assist those in Barbados who were disabled. However, at an Annual General Meeting on July 4, 1990, the name Barbados Council for the Handicapped was changed to the Barbados Council for the Disabled.


The Founding Members of the Council included:

Barbados Association for Mentally Retarded Children
Barbados Cheshire Homes Association
Barbados Association for the Blind and Deaf



The key objectives of the Council were outlined in its constitution:

To keep under review the work being done for the handicapped and to promote action for the rehabilitation of handicapped persons;
To formulate programmes and to cooperate with all appropriate governmental agencies, regional and international, with regard to the rehabilitation, education, training, employment and welfare of the handicapped;
To foster collaboration between organizations of and for the handicapped and to promote activities for the benefit of such organizations.



With these strong objectives, the beginning of the decade of the eighties saw the Council focusing on a number of projects for implementation:

Accessible public transportation;
Survey to discover the location of disabled persons;
Bracing/prosthetic workshop;
Investigate and legislate for accessibility to all public buildings;
Manufacture of wheelchairs;
Library of stimulating and educational toys, for disabled children.



The programmes at the time were:

Developing policy on Special Education and teacher training;
Parental advocacy;
Respite care;
Job placement


In 1993, Mr. Peter Serieux B.C.H. was elected to serve as President and became the very first person with a disability to hold the position. The Council was then able to obtain office space for the very first time and as such was able to now function in its full capacity.


Legal advice was sought and the Council's Constitution came under review. Such advice subsequently saw the Council amending its Constitution to become incorporated as a non-profit company. The structure of the organisation was revamped at its 1994 Annual General Meeting. A new Board comprising of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Public Relations Officer and four floor members was as a result of this restructuring.


The organizational priorities during the 1990s were:

Improving legislation regarding the disabled;
To pursue Employment opportunities and specific training for persons with disabilities and to improve their standard of living.


Government recognition was gained through a workshop entitled Introduction of a National Policy for Persons with Disabilities. As a result, the Council actively engaged in the establishment of a national Task Force on Persons With Disabilities as well as participating on the National Advisory Committee on Disabilities for duration of two years.


One of the highlights of this era took place on 3 December 1997 when the National Disabilities Unit was formed. Later, on 25 January 1999, the Ministry of Social Transformation was formed and numerous aid agencies, including those for the disabled, fell under this Ministry’s portfolio. The Barbados Council for the Disabled immediately established a working relationship with both the Unit and the Ministry.


Under the Presidency of Mr. Clevedon Mayers, there was continued expansion, growth, recognition and improvements in education, public awareness and technology, including the creation of the Council’s website. The annual subvention from government rose from $7,000 in 1999 to $105,000 in 2000 and government’s relations with the Council strengthened.


The strategic direction of the Council was charted in October 1999 and the Strategy Document which was formulated, encompassed many of the organization’s goals and achievements.


In 2001, the Council acquired its first fully accessible bus, which quickly became an integral part of the transportation service. This bus is assigned to transporting children with special needs to and from school.


Another program of national significance was the introduction of Blind Cricket to Barbados in 2002-2003. Through this sport, the general public began to see another dimension to persons with disabilities.


Mrs. Boneta Phillips took the reins of office in 2003 thus becoming the first woman with a disability to head the Council. During her presidency, the Council continued to experience a period of rapid growth and change.


In 2003, the Council acquired a Government lease for its new home "Harambee House" located at the Garrison, St. Michael which was officially opened in 2006 after extensive renovations. It features a resource centre for the use of the affiliated organizations, meeting rooms, a reference library, a computer lab and an administration centre.


The Government increased the Council’s subvention in 2004 after our submission of a budget based on the acquisition of Harambee House and increased administrative costs.


In launching Wheelchair Tennis, the Council added yet another discipline to the sporting arena in Barbados. At the same time, the Council acquired another accessible vehicle donated through the British High Commission, thus increasing the fleet of accessible buses to two.


The Constitution of the Council was reviewed and adopted in June 2004 and took effect at the Annual General Meeting in June of 2005. In accordance with the new regulations, the Board of Directors comprises of five officers and six floor members. All posts are now be held for two years.


A cherished programme of the council was launched in November 2005 with the unveiling of the Fully Accessible Barbados (FAB) Awards. These awards seek to recognize those facilities, which have made a conscious effort to be accessible to persons with disabilities.


Among some of the more recent programmes of the Council are:

Community-Based Rehabilitation programme;
The employment of a part time Physiotherapist;
The "Nothing About Us Without Us" t-shirt campaign;
The distribution of Parking IDS and Parking Reminder Fliers;
The "A Voice of Our Own" monthly article in the Nation Newspaper;
The production of accessibility guideline brochures.


The Council’s affiliates have reached a total of nineteen organizations representing a wide cross section of interests and specialties.


The Barbados Council for the Disabled continues to share a vision with their membership and that is, integration and equality of opportunities for all persons with disabilities. The Board of Directors and staff are committed to these objectives and welcome the support of all persons in the achievement of these goals.


Further information on Barbados Council for the Disabled, Harambee House, The Garrison, St Michael, Barbados can be sourced at the following website Telephone (246) 427-8136 Fax:  (246) 427-5210.


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