Summer 2021 Research Proposal
This is the proposal I submitted to the Cornell Laidlaw Scholarship Program, which was accepted in March 2021. My research focuses on the labor economy and disability in Barbados. Our goal is to create qualitative data on the experiences of people with disabilities and promote new public policies.
Barbados, a small island state in the Eastern Caribbean, stands out amongst its fellow
Caribbean nations due to comparative wealth over most other countries in the region. However,
such wealth does not inform socio-economic prosperity for many of the nation’s citizens.
Specifically, the country struggles with the well-being of disabled Barbadians and continuously
fails to secure and promote the rights of these citizens. This lack of protection for peoples with
disabilities in Barbados is particularly worrisome considering the state ratified the United
Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2013. Furthermore, Barbados
has yet to pass any legislation protecting the employment rights of people with disabilities.
Therefore, to address this concern, we aim to undertake a qualitative research study that conducts
focus groups and interviews with key stakeholders in Barbados.
The objective of this research project is to investigate and collect detailed qualitative data
on the employment conditions of disabled Barbadians. This data will mainly draw from first-
person accounts on the labor conditions, workplace discrimination, and training inequality
Barbadians with disabilities face in the country. After receiving the approval of an institutional
review board, we will obtain accounts by employing existing connections with the Barbados
Council for the Disabled and conduct virtual interviews. These interviews will include a target
sample size of about 30 individuals with, including but not limited to, physical, intellectual, and
developmental disabilities, and a group of 30 supervisory employers across different economic
sectors. In these virtual focus groups, we hope to understand how a disability affects employment
in the country and what policies Barbados should introduce to address people with disabilities.
Policy recommendations made at the end of our research will include laws that seek to address
the needs of people with disabilities, laws that continue implementing the UN Convention, and
laws that promote positive employer attitudes towards employees with disabilities.
This research is particularly urgent due to the absence of any empirical research on the
labor conditions of disabled peoples in Barbados. As such, this project would be the first of its
kind to provide the international community with detailed accounts of disability in Barbados.
Such insight would provide two specific benefits. The first benefit includes providing interested
international organizations such as the United Nations and foreign governments with data
regarding the current progress Barbados has made in protecting and securing the rights of
disabled peoples in the country. The second benefit is that the project would provide Barbados
and the international community with policy recommendations on how to respect the rights of
people with disabilities. After observing our conclusions, these institutions may consider
methods to improve the labor conditions of Barbadians with disabilities.
Through our research, we will investigate how people with disabilities in Barbados attain
employment and training opportunities. In concluding our work, we hope to bring about the
beginning of an international effort to improve conditions for people with disabilities in