Executive Director of the Combined Disabilities Association Gloria Goffe beleives that the ongoing practice of not allowing persons with disabilities to provide bail, is an act of discrimination on the part of the state.
Goffe on Sunday confirmed that her members have been encountering this practice in the courts and at police stations, and she's calling for it to be stopped immediately.
“It is discrimination - the act, does not exclude us and even if it did we would consider it discrimination …. It is preventing me from performing in a way that I am entitled to,” said Goffe who was a guest RJR's That's a Rap.
Attorney at law Clive Munroe Jr., who was also on the programme, supported her position, stating that there's nothing in law to prevent disabled persons from providing surety for those seeking bail.
“The question of who can be excluded as a surety … disability is not one of those things that can be used to exclude someone. So this is a person of good character who is not presently before a court as an accused , has not been convicted of any criminal offense. These are the kind of things that would exclude you as a surety. But your physical capacity would not exclude you as a surety,” he said.
In response, Senator Floyd Morris, who heads the Centre for Disability Studies at the University of the West Indies, declared that he will be bringing the issue to the attention of the Police High Command .
“The Police Commissioner has to take it up and give strict instructions in terms of the police force staff orders. So that this matter is dealt with in a particular way so that persons with disabilities can exercise their constitutional right of participation,” Morris noted.