‘Empowering Our Differently Able’
While I am not physically ‘differently abled,’ I do suffer from a form of dyslexia. While at university I was elected to the Student Parliament as the Special Needs Commissioner, and this mandated that I speak in particular on behalf of disabled students, be they physically or otherwise handicapped. This gave me quite an insight into some of the challenges faced by many people in our society, and I remember in particular learning how to negotiate the campus in solely in a wheelchair – a lot more difficult than I had naively assumed. Since then I have tried to be conscious of obstacles to differently abled citizens. With this in mind I am happy to read on p.20 of the PLP Election Platform 2007 ‘Patterns of Progress’ that the Party intends introduce Accessibility Legislation that will:
“…mandate accessibility to persons with disabilities by planning regulation for all new buildings, as well as the retrofitting of existing buildings to allow access. Other issues such as text messaging [I assume here this means subtitles – JS] for television news for the hearing impaired will also be addressed.”
My particular form of dyslexia is primarily of an audio nature, so I’m particularly happy about the subtitles; I often watch DVDs with the subtitles on for this express purpose. I do hope that they really work on enforcing this legislation though, and not to sure how the retrofitting will be done, but I’m certainly looking forward to it.
‘A Safer, Secure Society’
As a former Regimental soldier that supports universal and mandatory consription but has severe reservations about the existing Regiment, I am curious to learn more about what this (p.20) blurb entails:
“In the new term, the PLP Government will introduce a package of incentives so that service in the Bda Regiment is an increasingly attractive proposition.”
I am enthusiastic about the general tack of the platform regarding crime. The focus seems to be on preventing crime, primarily by tackling social alienation by the youth. There is a focus on the Mirrors program, as well a commitment tto investing in youth services and youth development, with investment in cricket and football being part of this. It is a community based plan for preventing crime through increasing social cohesion. I also like to renewed commitment to the Alternatives to Incaceration initiative. [This all on p.21.]
Other initiatives (p.37 – ‘Safer Communities’) include:
Exploring additional ways of maintaining police staffing levels.
Continue to seek outside assistance for the Bda police service.
Implement a ‘home-grown’ anti-gang initiative. [I am very interested in this one.]
Expand the role and staffing of the Bda Regiment to assist the Police with non-policing duties.
Where possible, combine uniformed support services to effect greater cost savings. [This one worries me a little, especially based on the experience of UK Labour.]
I rely primarily on my feet and public transport for getting around. So I’m intrigued about the proposals put forward in the platform in this area (p.23-24). The key objective seems to be to ‘…make public transport affordable and accessible so that travelers have a greater incentive not to congest our roads with their vehicles.’ There also appears to be a committment to ‘meeting our environmental obligations’ and a belief that we ‘…need bold steps in order to meet our environmental challenge if people are going to continue to be as mobile, with a growing economy.’ The proposals put forward are:
Conduct a full review of the trucks permitting process with a view to codifying the application process to remove subjectivity.
Pursue the airport master planning exercise with a view to a new facility.
Permit a waiver of landing fees for competitive flights on existing gateways.
Boaz Island ferry stop and transport interface. [I think this should help reduce the rush hour crunch coming from the West End.]
Increase parking at Rockaway.
Introduction of connector buses on North/South routes. [I would really appreciate this one. If its not raining, sure I’ll walk, but in the rain, this would make a big difference for me at least.]
Continue to reduce the average age of the bus fleet. [Good, better performance and comfort.]
Conduct an assesment of our channels with a view to updating our nautical charts (not done since 1970). [Shouldn’t this be done every decade?]
A new tug boat (replacing ‘St. David’) to improve sea rescue capability.
Complete the feasibility study on port development.
Continue to work with businesses in the development of traffic plans and devise methods of promoting the use of public transport. [I think this will be very important in encouraging a shift towards greater public transportation usage.]
Review the current transport licensing procedures to prevent fraud.
Conduct a transport needs assesment for Bda mindful of sustainability issues. [I assume this means implementing the findings of the Sustainable Development Taskforce.]
And most importantly, from the ‘Highlights’: Free bus and ferry transportation!!! This will definitely help me save some money for rent, and I beleive will certainly increase general usage of public transportation, especially if this goes hand in hand with greater frequency and reliability.