With Guyana’s infrastructure boom, wheelchair user lobbies for greater accessibility

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Gabriel Gilkes, a 30-year-old man, knows all too well how difficult it is to access many buildings in Guyana because he is a wheelchair user.

With the ongoing infrastructure boom in Guyana, Gilkes is advocating for more buildings and spaces to become more accessible for other wheelchair users and persons with disabilities generally.

Because he is unable to walk as an able-bodied person would, Gilkes explained that he must depend on ramps and other amenities as opposed to stairs to access buildings. But doing so becomes difficult where there are only stairs in many buildings.

Wheelchair user Gabriel Gilkes ((Photo: News Room/ December 3, 2022)

The Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC), at Liliendaal, Georgetown, the man said, is one example of a space that is very accessible.

It is outfitted with ramps and rails on the ground floor and on the upper flat, and there is also an elevator to help persons who cannot readily use the stairs. Newer developments like the Conference Centre, he said, signal that more people are aware of the need for more accessible spaces. Still, he says more should be done.

“There should be more changes but not just for persons like myself but for persons who are visually impaired but for persons who are deaf and so,” Gilkes added during an interview with the News Room.

With ongoing roadworks, Gilkes also believes that more sidewalks and crosswalks for pedestrians should be established. Altogether, he believes that Guyana can become a more accessible place for persons with disabilities.

 

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