BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, October 26, 2021 (S.T.E.P.) – In observance of Blindness Awareness Month, universally celebrated in October, the St. Kitts (Basseterre) Lions Club held the annual ‘Journey for Sight’ walk on Saturday October 23 and presented two white canes to members of the St. Kitts Society for the Blind. The walk was not held last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘Journey for Sight’ walk which involved members and prospective members of the St. Kitts (Basseterre) Lions Club, and members of the St. Kitts Society for the Blind, started at 6:20 a.m. from the Cenotaph at the War Memorial in Fortlands. It was led by President of the Lions Club, Ms Heather Grant, who walked alongside a member of the St. Kitts Society for the Blind, Ms Sharon Fredrick.
Representing the St. Kitts Society for the Blind was its President Mr Rockliffe Bowen, who is also the Vice President of the Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP)-sponsored McKnight Community Centre-based St. Kitts and Nevis Association for Persons with Disabilities, and was joined by a few members on the walk.
“Fellow Lions, prospective members, and invited guests – I just want to say a special thank you to all of you who are here who took part in the ‘Journey for Sight’ walk for the visually impaired persons here this morning,” said Ms Grant after they returned to the Cenotaph at the War Memorial at the end of the walk.
Participants walked from the War Memorial and on to Bay Road through Irish Town and downtown Basseterre, and in New Town they made a detour left to the Sandown Road and at the top they turned left on to Pond Road, walked on to Cayon Street via downtown Basseterre and Greenlands, and at the CFBC turned left to Burden Street and back to the Cenotaph at the War Memorial.
“I am quite sure that the exercise was a good one and we all had our little fun as we walked along,” said President Grant. “This morning we are going to do a short presentation to Mr Rockliffe Bowen who is the President of the St. Kitts Society for the Blind. It is a presentation of two white canes that would be distributed to two of his members of the association. One of them unfortunately was not able to make it this morning because of transportation issues.”
One of the white cane, which was received by Mr Bowen, was to be given to the member of the St. Kitts Society for the Blind, Mr Michael Rawlins of Tabernacle Village, who could not make it for the walk. The second cane was presented to another member of the St. Kitts Society for the Blind, Mrs Ethel Bowen, who is the wife of Mr Rockliffe Bowen.
“This is not the first time I am participating along with the other members of our organisation,” said Mr Bowen. “It is something that we as persons who are blind and visually impaired look forward to it, every year, but unfortunately they did not have it last year because of the Covid-19. It is so refreshing and at the same time it sensitises the general public so that they can know how important sight is.”
Accompanying Mr Bowen were St. Kitts Society for the Blind members, Ms Sharon Fredrick, Ms Letitia Murray, and Mrs Sylvine Henry. Assisting them were Ms Crannie Cranston who is a member of the STEP-sponsored St. Kitts and Nevis Association for Persons with Disabilities, and Mr Derrick Conner. While present at the presentation ceremony, Mrs Ethel Bowen could not take part in the walk for health reasons.
“I would like to take this opportunity as President of the St. Kitts Society for the Blind, on behalf of our executive and our general membership, to say thanks to the President and to the other members of the Lions Club for putting on this walk every year, because this is something that we as blind and visually impaired persons look forward to,” said Mr Bowen.
He added: “I hope that the Almighty God will give them the strength to continue and to plan other activities, not only to benefit us who are blind, but to continue with the community work that they have been doing over the years.”
Representing St. Kitts (Basseterre) Lions Club on the walk included First Vice President Mrs Adaeze Hanley, Second Vice President Mr Ellamorrow Levy, Treasurer Ms Marsha Harris, Immediate Past President Ms Bernadette Dolphin, and Past Presidents Ms Charmaine Pemberton, Ms Nikiesha Thomas, Mrs Adora Warner, and the Hon Dr Geoffrey Hanley.
Others were Director Ms Petal Rawlins, Member Mr Collins Benjamin, and Founding Member Mr Samuel Tuckett. Friends of Lions included the National HIV/AIDS Programme Coordinator Dr Matthias Afortu-Ofre, the National Health Consultant with the Ministry of Health Dr Lincoln Carty, and Mr Marvin Warner. Prospective members included Mr Vincent Fough, and Mr Austin Buchanan.