(PRESS RELEASE) – Our most valued members, persons with disabilities, caregivers as well as all of you our well-wishers and supporters, I am most pleased, on behalf of the Board of The National Council for Persons with Disabilities to extend warmest greetings to you.
As we celebrate IDPD 2019 under the global theme: ‘Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda,’ we have much to celebrate in our island nation regarding progress which has been made in disability affairs over the last few years.
On November 29th 2019 Prime Minister, The Honourable Allen Chastanet signed the Instrument of Accession of Saint Lucia to the UN Convention on The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The depositing of this document at UN Headquarters will officially mark Saint Lucia’s Ratification of the CRPD, an act which we have been advocating for over a number of years. This is tremendous cause for celebration and will pave the way for greater promotion and upholding of the rights of PWDs on our island to be educated, employed, socially protected, given access to adequate healthcare and housing among many others. We will constantly engage policy makers in order to ensure these outcomes.
In addition to our general advocacy, regular programmes and annual summer camp for children with disabilities, we have achieved historic milestones through the support of partner agencies. Such partnerships have allowed us to open a modern, Prosthetic Leg Manufacture Centre, a wheelchair repair center and to undertake major wheelchair distribution projects which will be repeated early in 2020 where more Saint Lucians will benefit from receiving brand new wheelchairs at no cost.
On Tuesday December 10th (International Human Rights Day), there will be a walk of solidarity at 11:00 a.m from the Waterfront to Constitution Park comprising 40 persons with disabilities, symbolic of our 40 years of independence as a Nation along with Parliamentarians. At the park, there will be an opportunity to view exhibits of the work of the NCPD and to purchase honey products from our Farmers With Disabilities Incorporated. The Dunnottar School Band will also provide musical entertainment. This activity aims to boost awareness of the diversity of disability in our population and to encourage Saint Lucians to be more supportive of our work.
As we move into a new year of opportunity and exciting possibility, there is still much great work to be done and the best way is Together! We reaffirm our commitment to advocating vigorously for the greater good of persons with disabilities who continue to face great challenges in everyday life and the NCPD wishes.
Happy International Day of Persons with Disabilities!
Merphilus James (Mr.)