Senator Kerryann Ifill is an outstanding Barbadian woman who has, during the course of her life to date, reached a number of landmarks which support the view that - with dedication, determination, and devotion - one is able to rise above any challenge and overcome seemingly insurmountable odds.

Senator Ifill is totally blind but this has not stopped her from attaining goals that others would regard as impossible. She was the first totally blind student to pass through mainstream education. She pursued her academic career at both C.X.C. and Cambridge Advanced levels at Combermere, while at the same time participating in a range of extra-curricular activities, including the Girl Guides, the Literary and Debating Society and the school choir.   

On graduating from Combermere, Senator Ifill pursued a degree in Sociology and Psychology at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies. She became the first totally blind student to graduate from UWI…. with Upper Second Class Honours.  A thirst for further education led Senator Ifill to successfully pursue the Masters of Business Administration with the Durham Business School, the first - and to date only - totally blind person to participate in the programme administered in the Caribbean on behalf of Durham University.

Senator Ifill’s work experience is vast – from working to heighten awareness about disabilities at the Women and Development Unit to working on a programme as a volunteer at PAREDOS; from conducting research and managing the day-to-day projects at the Barbados Council for the Disabled to monitoring and maintaining the Council website and drafting of all of its public relations material; her accomplishments are many.  She now works as consultant/facilitator for the Assistive Technology Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired at the National Disabilities Unit, a position she has held since June 2010. There, she works towards improving the level of awareness on assistive technology and the manner in which it can improve the quality of life for persons who are blind and visually impaired.

She now serves as President of the Barbados Council for the Disabled, and is also the current President of the Caribbean Council for the Blind, member of the National United Society of the Blind, Superintendent of the Sunday School at the Church of the Resurrection and a member of the Barbados Blind Cricket Association.  Kerryann was also made an Honorary Rotarian in 2013.

In February of 2008, Senator Ifill was appointed to serve as a member of the Upper chamber of the Parliament of Barbados and was appointed as the Senate’s first female president in March of 2012.  

Treaty of Marrakesh; seeking support for its ratification among Caribbean countries

Presenter: Her Honour, Senator Kerryann Ifill

Affiliation: President, Caribbean Council for The Blind

Presenter: Christopher E B Friend

Affiliation: World Blind Union


It is a fact that, presently, only 5% of the world’s printed material is made available in a format accessible to persons living with print impairments.  In the Caribbean, these figures are even lower. The Caribbean Council for the Blind in collaboration with the World Blind Union is working assiduously to improve these numbers dramatically.  The World Intellectual Property Organisation has adopted the Treaty of Marrakesh in 2013 which seeks to rectify this situation, but it cannot succeed without the support of all stakeholders. 

The presentation will seek to outline the treaty, its impact and stimulate the support of members of ACTI to improve the inclusion for all Caribbean students; regardless of their challenges.