16 March 2023


The National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS) and the Trinidad and Tobago Blind Welfare Association (TTBWA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on March 3, 2023 at the First Floor, Seminar Room, National Library in Port of Spain.


The signing of the MoU signalled the continuation of the work the two entities begun in 2019 under the previous MoU. NALIS and TTBWA also executed an Eligible Third Party Agreement by which TTBWA has been empowered to exercise rights as an “Eligible Third Party” under Article 5.6 of the Authorized Entity Agreement between NALIS and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which was executed in March 2022. This agreement stipulates the terms and conditions for sharing accessible format copies and metadata accessed from the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC), which is managed by WIPO for persons who are blind, visually impaired (VIP) and print disabled.


Delivering remarks at the ceremony were the Honourable Symon de Nobriga, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister – Communications; Senator the Honourable Donna Cox, Minister of Social Development and Family Services; Neil Parsanlal, Chairman, Board of NALIS; Felix Cazoe, President, TTBWA, Mr Kenneth Suratt, CEO, TTBWA and Paula Greene, Executive Director, NALIS.


Background Information


In September 2019, NALIS signed the first MoU with the TTBWA for the period of one year with provisions for amendments, revisions or modifications, as mutually agreed.  Since then, NALIS has worked with the Association to identify approximately sixty-six (66) school texts for conversion in the accessible format for students who are blind, visually impaired and print disabled. Additionally, the two entities continue to collaborate on increasing the resources now available in Braille and share information to the public on issues pertinent to this community. NALIS facilitates the training of visually impaired persons in the use of assistive technology at its public libraries.


In 2020, the Trinidad and Tobago Coypright Act was amended to name NALIS as the “Authorized Entity” under the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled (VIPs).  Additionally, in March 2022, NALIS, entered into an Authorized Entity Agreement with the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) of the Geneva based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This historic signing facilitates access to over seven hundred and thirty thousand (730,000) titles in eighty languages in a range of accessible formats for this community of individuals.