Role Model Iris Adderley – Disability Advocate: Reasonable Accommodations

Go Lean Commentary/Interview

Travel away from your children for an extended time period and you would notice something amazing: Change.

It turns out that change is constant; children grow. But you have to take a step back to notice the difference.

CU Blog - Anecdote - Iris Adderley - Photo 1This is the experience of Disability Advocate Iris Adderley. She is a proud Bahamian – oldest child with 10 siblings who mostly all still live in the Bahamas – who served her country well; especially during the early days of nation-building (independence status was obtained in 1973). In a job assignment with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Ms. Adderley spent many years abroad (Coral Gables, FL and Dallas, TX) promoting the Bahamas around the world as a tourist and convention destination. She was continuously called upon to sell a vision of the Bahamas that she discovered later to be out-dated, and irrelevant. The country had changed … and even declined, it seemed, in her absence.

Ms. Adderley returned to the Bahamas in the year 2000, but not to the homeland she had left behind, rather to this newly changed community. The changes were not all good. To complicate matters, she was now returning as a quadriplegic, a permanent disability.

Ms. Adderley endured a life-threatening car accident in Metropolitan Dallas in 1982, where she lived and worked for her Ministry of Tourism assignment. But she does not consider her injury as a national sacrifice. It was just “time and unforeseen occurrence” befalling her; (see Bible reference of Ecclesiastes 9:11 in the Appendix below). This taught her a very important lesson that everybody is  vulnerable to injury and illness and can be rendered disabled. This new reality became her new advocacy, a quest to make sure people with disabilities have equal rights and opportunities to contribute to society. (This quest also applies as a population ages, the prevalence of disabilities increases proportionally; think Diabetes amputations, Hip replacements, etc.).

This conclusion aligns with the book Go Lean…Caribbean, that with just a reasonable accommodation, persons with disabilities can live a full and engaging life … and help to elevate their communities and make “home” better places to live, work and play.

What reasonable accommodations?

For starters, Ms. Adderley expressed that if her injury had occurred in her Caribbean homeland that she would now be dead!

The world is better … that she has survived.

The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The CU is designed to elevate the region’s economic, security and governing societal engines. This includes healthcare. The CU roadmap calls for improvements to the region’s emergency management apparatus. There is a plan to deploy a network of 6 cutting-edge Trauma Centers throughout the Caribbean. With this mitigation and remediation, the region can more competently respond to trauma emergencies, like life-threatening auto accidents.

It is only reasonable to expect that Caribbean society would have caught up to finally being able this deliver on the social contract at this level, considering that Ms. Adderley trauma transpired 33 years ago.

Unfortunately, the experiences of so many in the Bahamas, specifically and the Caribbean as a whole, is that these countries are structured only for the lowest common denominator (LCD); anyone one with needs above-and-beyond this LCD level is just “out-of-luck”.

This is unacceptable … and unreasonable for Caribbean contributors like Iris Adderley. This is also unacceptable … and unreasonable for the planners of the new Caribbean. We must deliver better on the social contract, the implied covenant where citizens surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority of the State in exchange for protection of remaining natural and legal rights. Blatant failures on the delivery of this social contract lead to an undesirable destination: abandonment!

Ms. Adderley lived in the most advanced country in the world, in the US State of Texas. She would have been excused if she wanted to remain there for her sustained existence, considering her health disposition. But she showed a national sacrifice ethos and repatriated back to her Caribbean homeland. This is heroic!

In a structured interview, Iris Adderley made the following contributions to this discussion of the roadmap to elevate her community:

CU Blog - Anecdote - Iris Adderley - Photo 2

Bold = Author

What are the details of your advocacy?

There should be a stronger manifestation of “Human” and “Woman’s” rights in the Bahamas. It is deplorable that the country is so deficient in these offerings. Earlier in my career, I took the assignment in Dallas so as to leave the Coral Gables Office of the Ministry of Tourism because the spirit of gender discrimination was just so acute. I felt I could make a bigger impact in a more reasonable environment. I was proven correct and did indeed have a greater impact professionally there. Returning to the Bahamas in 2000 I wanted to nurture that same advocacy at home, but this time with a supplemental agenda for persons with disabilities.

What are your responsibilities now?

I serve as a Consultant at the Disability Affairs Division of the Ministry of Social Services and Community Development. I help to guide public policy to benefit those with disabilities in the country, even blending my prior role as a Tourism promoter by trying to create a great environment for persons with disabilities to come visit our shores and enjoy our hospitality.

What would you do if your project had 50% more funding?

Create rehabilitation centers, if not throughout the whole country, then at least in the capital city of Nassau. Persons with disabilities need help and support to get back to the point where they can contribute to society. Increased funding would allow more cultural education to message that persons with disabilities have the same rights in any society, to be more inclusive of the day-to-day affairs.

What do you want to see in The Bahamas in … 5 years?

More fulfilment of Sir Lynden’s Vision; (the first and longest-serving Prime Minister after majority rule, Sir Lynden O. Pindling). The young people need to know who we are as a people, where we came from and that we were a nation of beautiful, strong black people.

I want to see Bahamians own more of the Bahamas. This means diversifying from the main industries of tourism and financial services; all we’re doing there is servicing other people’s assets; we are not really owning or creating anything.

What do you want to see in The Bahamas in … 20 years?

The Bahamas needs a National Strategic Plan. This needs to reflect the values and best-practices that have been honed from experiences from around the world. The Bahamas has a global Diaspora – mostly of an elderly disposition now – their participation should be invited.

What features of North America/Europe would you like to see here?

The social safety nets (health, schools, food for the poor) are to be admired, especially in many European countries. Those communities extend themselves to care for their elderly, poor, sick and disabled citizens.

How would you feel if your children emigrate?

Though I don’t have any children directly, I’m blessed with many nieces, nephews and loving family members. So many of them are bright young all-stars and go-getters, studying abroad in colleges and universities. Unfortunately, far too often, these ones are not setting their sight on a return home to the Bahamas. Some would even rather go to a Latin American country than to come back here to the Bahamas. This is sad, as it does not reflect the great sacrifices that so many in the previous generations made to forge opportunities for this next generation.

Where do you consider to be the best place to live?

At one point, my answer would have been the Bahamas; but I’ve gotten to see the real country as it exists today; this is not what we sold to tourists in promotions and advertisements. The country has changed … downward. Instead of our next generation offering reassurance and hope, I am more troubled at their lack of proper training. We cannot expect greatness from the status quo of most of this generation today..

What areas are you most disappointed in when considering the last 20 years?

The lack of discernment is especially disappointing. Many times the wise course is presented to Bahamians, but they seem to like to ignore wisdom and instead proceed down a destructive path. I guess the proverb is true: “A prophet is not accepted at home”.

Your wisdom is discerned here Ms. Adderley!

The points from this Disability Advocate align with the CU/Go Lean roadmap. Our directive is similar: to elevate Caribbean society, including those persons with physical disabilities. The declarative statements of the prime directive are as follows:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to prepare and protect stakeholders for natural, man-made and incidental emergencies.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The book posits that one person, despite their field of endeavor, can make a difference in the Caribbean, and its impact on the world; that there are many opportunities where one champion, one advocate, can elevate society. In this light, the book features 144 different advocacies, one specifically for Persons with Disabilities (Page 228). We need advocates, vanguards and sentinels like Iris Adderley to ensure equal opportunities for all these relevant stakeholders.

The Go Lean roadmap specifically encourages the region, to lean-in to elevate society with these specific community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies:

Community Ethos – Economic Principles – Economic Systems Influence   Individual Choices Page 21
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Minority Equalization Page 24
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Return on Investments Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Promote Happiness – Gerontology/Aging Factors Page 36
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision – Confederate all 30 Member-states Page 45
Strategy – Mission – Repatriate the Diaspora,   young and old …even those disabled Page 46
Anatomy of Advocacies – Examples   of Individuals Who Made Impact Page 122
Planning – 10 Big Ideas – Homeland Security Pact Page 127
Planning – Ways to Improve Failed-State Indices – Minority and Human Rights Page 134
Planning – Lessons from US Constitution – Equal Protection for all Minorities Page 139
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Healthcare – Caribbean [Persons] with Disabilities Page 156
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance – For All Citizens Page 168
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract – Medical / Heath Endeavors Page 170
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Justice – Ensure Rights for the Disabled Classes Page 177
Advocacy – Ways to Remediate and Mitigate Crime – Hate Crime Qualifiers Page 178
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Homeland Security – Emergency Management Page 180
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Emergency Management – Trauma Art & Science Page 182
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Technology – e-Government Interfaces & Services Page 197
Advocacy – Ways to Protect Human Rights – Caribbean [Persons] with Disabilities Page 220
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Elder-Care – Caribbean [Persons] with Disabilities Page 225
Advocacy – Ways to Empower Women Page 226
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Persons with Disabilities – ‘Americans with Disabilities Act’ Model Page 228
Appendix – Trauma Center Definitions Page 336

The Caribbean region wants a more optimized society … for all citizens. We want to mitigate human rights and civil rights abuses, and empower all for a better life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The Go Lean book posits that economic measures and security measures must be in tandem for any societal empowerment effort. According to the foregoing interview/profile, after 30 years, our region is still behind with regards to servicing the needs of one specific minority group: persons with disabilities. We must do better!

Early in the book, the pressing need to optimize facilitations for this population group was pronounced in the Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 11 – 13), with these opening statements:

ix. Whereas the realities of healthcare and an aging population cannot be ignored and cannot be afforded without some advanced mitigation, the Federation must arrange for health plans

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance.  the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xviii. Whereas all citizens in the Federation member-states may not have the same physical abilities, reasonable accommodations must be made so that individuals with physical and mental disabilities can still access public and governmental services so as to foster a satisfactory pursuit of life’s liberties and opportunities for happiness.

The Go Lean book explicitly acknowledges that optimizing the needs of persons with disabilities is not easy; this requires strenuous effort, heavy-lifting. These persons with disabilities normally are not able to contribute as much to Caribbean society as they draw on the public resources. This is unfortunate! Other societies have provided great models and amenities for facilitating fuller lives for those with disabilities: motorized wheelchairs, cars equipped with hand controls, Braille and TeleType (TTY and/or TDD) devices. This is the quest of the CU/Go Lean roadmap to engage more people – even those persons with disabilities – into this effort to optimize Caribbean society. More innovations are forthcoming; see VIDEOs in the Appendix. This vision is only reasonable, but prudent, as this population can generate a positive Return on Investment (ROI); as demonstrated by Iris Adderley in the foregoing interview.

Many subjects related to this profile of role model Iris Adderley have been blogged in previous Go Lean…Caribbean commentary; they are sampled here: Managing a ‘Clear and Present Danger’ 911 – Emergency Response Empowerments for the Caribbean Businesses Try to Stave-off Brain Drain as Boomers Age, Retire National Sacrifice – The Missing Ingredient American Human Rights Leaders Slams Caribbean Poor Record

The CU/Go Lean roadmap is designed to empower and enhance the economic engines for the full participation and benefit of all Caribbean people. This includes the number of citizens that may have some physical challenges (deaf, blind, lame/mobility, etc.) or mental challenges. The CU’s vision is that this population group represents a critical talent pool that is under-served and underutilized; they are therefore included in the Go Lean roadmap. Tactically there is the call for a Caribbean [Persons] with Disabilities (CDA) provision to be embedded in the Caribbean Union confederation treaty; the request is to have the edict of reasonable accommodations legally embedded in statures.

In addition to the economic missions, the CU treaty would also address security needs, with the mission to fortify homeland security and to mitigate societal threats and risks, including a solution for emergency management and medical trauma arts and sciences.

Lastly, the CU treaty addresses remediation for regional governance. The local governments are thusly spurred to adapt and enforce access standards for all public edifices and private structures providing commerce to the general public. This reasonable accommodations mandate is modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) feature in US federal law.

This roadmap is a fully comprehensive plan with consideration to all aspects of Caribbean life. All stakeholders – citizens, businesses, and institutions – are hereby urged to lean-in to this roadmap.

Yes, with all “hands on deck”, persons with disabilities as well, the Caribbean can truly become a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!



1. Additional information on Iris Adderley:

2. Bible Reference – Ecclesiastes 9:11:
“I have seen something further under the sun, that the swift do not always win the race, nor do the mighty win the battle, nor do the wise always have the food, nor do the intelligent always have the riches, nor do those with knowledge always have success, because time and unexpected events overtake them all.” — New World Translation

3. VIDEO – Hugh Herr: The new bionics that let us run, climb and dance

Published on Mar 28, 2014 – Hugh Herr is building the next generation of bionic limbs, robotic prosthetics inspired by nature’s own designs. Herr lost both legs in a climbing accident 30 years ago; now, as the head of the MIT Media Lab’s Biomechatronics group, he shows his incredible technology in a talk that’s both technical and deeply personal — with the help of ballroom dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who lost her left leg in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and performs again for the first time on the TED stage.

4. VIDEO‘Terminator’ arm is world’s most advanced prosthetic limb

Published on Nov 5, 2012 – A father who lost his arm in an accident six years ago has been given a new lease of life by a hi-tech bionic hand which is so precise he can type again. Nigel Ackland, 53, has been fitted with the Terminator-like carbon fibre mechanical hand which he can control with movements in his upper arm. The new bebionic3 myoelectric hand, which is also made from aluminium and alloy knuckles, moves like a real human limb by responding to Nigel’s muscle twitches. Incredibly, the robotic arm is so sensitive it means the father-of-one can touch type on a computer keyboard, peel vegetables, and even dress himself for the first time in six years.
More info about this amazing prosthetic can be found here

5. VIDEO – Berkeley Bionics: Introducing eLEGS –

Published on October 13, 2011 – Berkeley Bionics has rebranded. The company is now known as Ekso Bionics and eLEGS has become Ekso. To clarify, the device is an exoskeleton and the brand of the exoskeleton is Ekso, by Ekso Bionics.

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