Basseterre, St. Kitts – members of the Federal Cabinet engaged with persons with disabilities and representatives of organizations who work with persons with disabilities on Friday, November 24, 2023, during a luncheon and consultation session held at the CUNA Caribbean Conference Room.
Prime Minister the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew, Minister the Honourable Samal Duggins, and Minister of State, the Honourable Isalean Phillip participated in the session attended by more than 50 persons.
Prime Minister Dr. Drew expressed gratitude to the participants and affirmed the government’s dedication to enhancing the living conditions of persons with disabilities.
“One of the things that we did this year is to introduce [the measure] that parliament or any address by the prime minister must have a sign language interpreter, someone to translate what is said in words into sign language,” said Dr. Drew, noting that many persons in the deaf and hard of hearing community applauded this development. “We believe that we must continue to do all that we can so that you can have as [few] barriers as possible so that you can carry out your functions in society.”
The prime minister added that as the barriers continue to be removed, persons would become more empowered, thereby reducing their dependence.
Travia Douglas, a Programme Officer at the Disability Services Unit, delivered a thought-provoking presentation titled “The Sustainable Development Goals and Persons with Disabilities.” Centered around the theme “No One Left Behind,” her presentation focused on the SDGs, encompassing various key issues. These included enhancing housing options for individuals with disabilities, expanding employment opportunities, revising the building code for better accessibility, and improving access to healthcare services, among other important topics.
Wheelchair user Devrone Connor said that today’s event was “very interesting” and he was eager to see more employment and training opportunities being created. Meanwhile, Letitia Murray expressed how significant it was for her to engage in discussions with high-ranking government officials about issues impacting not only people with disabilities but society at large. She praised the government’s initiative in establishing the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Ageing and Disabilities, which focuses specifically on addressing the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities.
Minister of State responsible for Disabilities, the Honourable Isalean Phillip, affirmed that the government will maintain ongoing conversations with stakeholders. She also expressed gratitude to various private sponsors and individuals for their continued partnership with the department.