BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — St. Kitts and Nevis will observe the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, on December 3, during an observance designed to promote the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society and development.
Anthony Mills, a member of St. Kitts and Nevis Association for Persons with Disabilities (SKNAPD), said that the differently-abled community often faces many hardships due to a lack of support infrastructure and systems.
Mr. Mills, a former SKNAPD president, highlighted that a common issue that needs to be urgently addressed is the abuse of disabled individuals.
“A lot of the time, what happens is that people with disabilities will encounter violence against them and not report it,” said Mills. “Most of it comes from family members who are supposed to love and protect each other.
“Emotional abuse was prominent just because maybe they [differently-abled individuals] can’t do things the way other people would,” said Mills.
Financial abuse was also cited. The misconception here is that differently-abled persons are incapable of managing their money.
Physical abuse is also common. Mr. Mills cited an incident with a young man with an intellectual challenge who works at the R. L. Bradshaw International Airport.
“Someone hit him in his head just because he’s mumu,” said Mills. “That’s what they call it [his disability], mumu,” a colloquial term used to describe someone considered daft. The matter was reported to the police, but no charges were filed.
Mr. Mills said that this was extremely disappointing and called for greater empathy and support for the differently-abled community. He noted that changes must be made at all levels of society from the policy-making level to the ordinary man and woman on the street.
Anthony Mills, a former SKNAPD president highlighted that a common issue that needs to be urgently addressed is the abuse of disabled individuals.