“‘Figures indicate that, at any one time, one in four people will experience depression, anxiety or problems related to stress” (Emily Litten, Guernsey Mind’s Executive Director 6/4/16).
“There are 13,000 people with a physical or mental condition in Guernsey” (GDA Manifesto for Guernsey Election 2016 #MakeItReal)
“The needs of carers are not always recognized …” (http://alzheimers.gg/) and there are 2,000 carers living in Guernsey.
So why have the candidates been attending events put on by the GDA and Mind? Simple – because not enough has been done.
One task left undone by the current States is to enact disability discrimination legislation to ensure those with a disability (and, in effect, their carers) would not be prejudiced. It would also enable Guernsey to join 99% of the world’s population and be a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Another would be to bring in equality legislation such as the UK’s Equality Act 2010 which “provides a legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all.” (http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/)
Thirdly, whilst Deputy Gollop followed by Deputy Wilkie have held the unofficial role of States’ Disability Champion (and did a great job), we need this to be an official appointment.
So what would I do if I was elected? I would press for the drafting of the legislation to be put to the top of the agenda of the Policy and Resources Committee, get Guernsey to sign up to the UN Convention and appoint a Deputy to an official role to see through this agenda. Most importantly, I want to ensure there is a two way dialogue with all those involved.
Equality is not just a matter of our health either. We need to encourage respect for each other at home, at school and in social media. Diversity is important because, by appreciating our differences, Guernsey can prosper.
My final quote for this article is from a French Economist, Thomas Piketty, who was speaking to the BBC a few days ago. He believed that rising inequality leads to political instability.
Guernsey thrives on stability and we all want Guernsey to thrive.