A woman who suffered a stroke when she was only four years old is calling for an end to discrimination for people with disabilities.
“Let’s normalise disabled persons working with able-bodied persons without discrimination,” Tinique Primus said on Facebook on Friday February 1, using the moniker Aaida “D Steppa” Primus.
Primus, who hails from Rockies in East Kingstown suffered a stroke that left her without the use of her left hand; she also walks with a limp.
While her physical appearance has not stopped Primus from pursuing her dreams, she is of the opinion that it has stopped her from holding down a job, not because of her inability to work, but because of people’s perception of her.
“I do not see my situation as a disability. I try to live my life as normal as possible but persons are discriminating against me,” Primus told SEARCHLIGHT in an interview on Thursday, February 10.
Primus is the holder of a certificate in Early Childhood Education from the SVG School of Continuing Education (accredited program). She also has a certificate in graphic design from the National Centre of Technological Innovation (NCTI); training in data operation from the Kingstown Technical Institute (KTI), and has undergone a short training course in Journalism offered by SEARCHLIGHT in 2017 and conducted by veteran Barbadian media professional, Roy Morris.
Primus,who attended the Petersville Primary School and the Dr. JP Eustace Memorial Secondary School, also at one time was a student of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC).
“I have skills but persons are discriminating against me,” she charged.
“I just want my voice to be heard,” added Primus explaining in part why she made the Facebook post.
The other reason was to share what she said was her most recent experience working at a pre-school in Kingstown.
Primus said she applied for a job at the pre-school and seeing that she presented her qualifications in Early Childhood Education,thought she would have been placed with children aged 3-5 but was instead placed with babies. She said when she discovered she was to be relieved of her job, she quit.
“When I did the interview…I carried certificates and they informed me that I would be working with toddlers and pre-schoolers…I had just got back the certificate so I was looking to grasp the skill of teaching children that age.
“….but when I got there, they had me with the babies…I didn’t want to take care of babies but I stayed there because you’re still learning something being there,” Primus said while noting that she was at the school for a month but experienced discrimination,” Primus recounted.
“Based on other work experience, other jobs that I have done, I know what I can do so I know the red flags when I see them.
“I can do anything a normal person can do…in my way…I will match the work to how I can do it…and that is one of the problems and that is the real reason I can’t find work, persons do not allow you to be yourself and do things your way because it is different from how they do it.
“Not because it is different means it is wrong. Persons like me are not treated fairly here and this is a big problem. We, persons like me…have a lot to offer,” Primus stressed.
Primus also complained about her EC$400 a month pay which left her with EC$382 after NIS deductions and complained that another person is being paid EC$300 which leaves her with only EC$282 after deductions for NIS. The working hours are from 7.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
She said this is also discrimination and should be looked at by the authorities.
According to the Department of Labour’s website, a child’s caregiver at a day-care centre is considered a domestic worker and should, by law, attract a minimum wage of EC$635 a month.