Please allow me some space in your newsprint for I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the formation and planned launch of the Guyana Disabled Businesspersons Association Inc. (GDBA Inc.) for the 50th Anniversary of Guyana’s Republic Anniversary next year May 2016.
Taking inspiration from a similar and very successful organisation located in the US, this organisation was founded by US Army Veteran Mr. Urban Miyares, who overcame his disability challenges to become a very successful businessman and also in return positioned himself and (Disabled Businesspersons association – (DBA)] to help many other veterans and similarly disabled persons all across the world
My personal life story of being made disabled for the past 7+ years from a construction fall, and many other disabled business owners in Guyana, is not as inspiring as Mr. Miyares, but many of us could safely say we have fought the good fight and overcame the odds to still be alive or in business. The challenges we face on a daily basis to survive and keep our business afloat could be daunting enough to force us to quit and pack up shop. Lately this seems like my only option…but I simply refuse to go down that road and will now do what is necessary to create a much better business environment for myself and fellow disabled businesspersons.
But this is not an option one would take knowing the hard work and long term dedication that was put to bring their business to fruition and viability over the years. In many instances it s a life and death situation – survival of the fittest. This new organisation (GDBA Inc.) will now seek to put meaningful frameworks in place after wide consultations with all relevant stakeholders, especially all the government branches and ministries that will lay the foundation for present and future disabled businesspersons to start-up, operate and develop any size of business enterprise to make a real and meaningful contribution to Guyana’s future development.
It’s a known fact that doing business in Guyana, in most instances, is a real challenge and sometimes disheartening experience for the most abled- bodied person…you can just imagine what it will be like for the (Persons With Disabilities) – PWD’s as a business owner or worst yet for a PWD’s now trying to start a business. The stigma and heartlessness that is experienced from the general public from time to time on a normal day serves as a deterrent to many not wanting to seek financial self-independence through the formation of a micro, small or medium business enterprise (mSME’s).
Some of the areas that the GDBA Inc. will be engaging the government in are as follows:
a. Engage GRA to put in place more enhanced tax breaks and concessions to make the disabled owned businesses more viable and profitable.
b. Engage NIS to waiver some of the requirements to make the disabled owned businesses more efficient and effective; for example, no more monthly application for Compliance Certificate.
c. Engage Ministry of Public Infrastructure and M&CC – City Engineer department to ensure that all public buildings and public spaces are fully compliant with the UN charters on accessibility.
d. Engage the Ministry of Social Security to enhance the benefits given to the disabled person and family as a whole.
e. Other areas of mutual interest to all stake holders…especially the private business community.
With these and other issues in mind, I have taken the initiative to start this new organisation and put together a committee of likeminded persons, this organisation will be tailored to not just meet the needs of the disabled businessperson, but to also engage and include the immediate family members in a real and constructive way to enhance the operation and growth of such businesses all across Guyana in every region. We are presently in the process of collecting data of all disabled businesspersons and we encourage persons with any such information to contact anyone of the persons listed below. All of this will be done in keeping with the local disability legislation and all the UN Conventions of Disability
Mr. Marlon N. Noel– Founder/President
Ms. Karen Hall
Mr. Leon Wallcott
Mrs. Berlinda Persaud
Mr. Norris Cummings.
Ms. Simone Poole
Mr. Leon Cummings
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