Social services director: ‘Treat differently abled people with respect’
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Acting Director of Social Services and Community Development Ann Wigley has made a call for citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis to be more mindful of differently abled people and treat them with the respect that they deserve.
Speaking on Wednesday’s “Working for You,” Wigley said that differently abled people are citizens of the federation like anyone else. She said that people should not speak ill of them or ostracize them, but rather ensure they are included in everyday life. She added that people and businesses should do more for the differently abled, while commenting that they should strive to make their residences and commercial establishments more accessible.
“Business places should have a [ramp] for those who use wheelchairs or even a stick,” Wigley said. It was mentioned that drivers usually do not stop for people who are differently abled. Wigley said that vehicles should stop and even passers-by should help them.
There is currently a bus in operation that caters to the differently abled, said Wigley. The Association of Persons with Disabilities St. Kitts and Nevis received the bus specially designed for wheelchairs, thanks to a $295,000 contribution from the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF). The bus, which has a ramp and lift at the back and is equipped with several brand new wheelchairs, is used to transport people who are differently abled.
Wigley also encouraged people who are in the process of building their homes to outfit them with ramps and support bars. “We don’t know what will happen because today you are up and then you can have an accident and then you are disabled,” she said. “So let us treat them with respect and love them.” She also encouraged parents to respect and love their differently abled children.
Later in the programme, Wigley said citizens and residents should emulate the many tourists who help their differently abled loved ones by pushing their wheelchairs off the cruise ships and helping them access certain areas in town.