Tony Mills (L) – Disabled Association Vice President
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
August 19, 2008 (CUOPM)
Participants at the just concluded National Consultation on the Economy have been urged to eliminate the disadvantages disabled persons face.
Vice President and Public Relations Officer of the St. Kitts and Nevis Association of Persons with Disabilities, Mr. Anthony Mills, who along with its President, Mr. Rockcliffe Bowen, represented the organisation at the national consultation called for changes in the legislation to eliminate the disadvantages.
“We must recognise that there need to be real change in the very fabric of our society; a change in attitudes, a change in behavior, and a change in values,” said Mills, who along with Mr. Rockcliffe Bowen, the President of the St. Kitts and Nevis Association of Persons with Disabilities represented the organisation.
Mr. Mills, who expressed thanks to Government for inclusion in the consultation, called for the establishment of a national forum for organisations of persons with disabilities that will enable the views of persons with disabilities to be heard by policy makers at the highest level of government and ensure disabled people are at the heart of public policy.
“We would like to ensure the mechanisms are in place to monitor the quality of services being provided in all areas of support to persons with disabilities. We think the government should enact a building code enforced by the building authority to ensure accessibility to all public places,” said Mr. Mills, who further suggested that the Department of Gender Affairs should as much as possible invite women with disabilities to attend their various workshops and seminars.
“The promotion of disabled women’s issues into mainstream and women’s rights will raise the profile and awareness of disability alongside topics like education, childcare and violence,” said Mr. Mills.
He recommended that in keeping with government’s plan for national development, “government should promote and assist in the provision of sheltered employment such as production workshops, involve persons with disabilities in the self employment schemes provided by the government and put in place adequate mechanisms to identify disabilities in children at the earliest possible age in order that the appropriate measures could be taken.”
He said the proposals by the St. Kitts and Nevis Association of Persons with Disabilities should be seen as an investment in the nation’s main industry; tourism, and as such should become a part of the government’s plan for national development.
“Many persons with disabilities have visited, and will visit our blessed nation so a more accessible and disabled friendly environment will encourage more such visitors to come and the family members of such persons to look at this federation when making vacation plans,” said Mr. Mills.