In his address to the Nation on Friday, December 02, in observance of the day, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Minister of Social Services, paid recognition to persons in St. Kitts and Nevis with disabilities, while at the same time extending thanks to them and others at large for their partnership with Government in bringing attention to the challenges faced daily.
“There are those in our society who have no known disability, but who work with the Association of Disabled Persons to promote the well-being of those who are challenged by disability,” said Minister Hamilton. “This selfless support contributes significantly to empowering those who are disabled; building their confidence; and so improve their quality of life, that reduces risks and liability. These public engagements of the Disabled, this week, showcase their ability to contribute to society and make a difference in the lives of all of us. During the week, members of the society assembled for church, engaged in a panel discussion, visited schools and addressed students, walked with persons like me, sharing their everyday experiences among other things.”
Minister Hamilton reflected on his recent interaction with persons living with disabilities, noting that a number of characteristics stood out among them. Such include the love and care that exist among members of the Association of Disabled Persons, the selfless commitment of volunteers who support the disabled, the challenges faced to cope with the unknown, and the symbolic culmination of the (November 30) exercise dubbed ‘Walk a Mile in My Shoes”, which saw Minister Hamilton playing an integral role, as he walked blind-folded alongside persons with disabilities.
He reminded the general public that persons living with disabilities do not seek pity, as they are productive citizens who seek only what everyone desires, which are respect, recognition and love.
“To those of you who are disabled, I salute you for your continuing efforts to bring awareness to the challenges you face, and I encourage you to communicate and partner with the Ministry, indeed with Government in ensuring that as development takes place, it does so with collaboration and intervention from every facet of our society,” said the minister of social services. “I trust that you the disabled have had a rewarding experience this week and that you grow as individuals and as a group, as you continue to make your contribution to society.”
This year’s International Day of Persons living with Disabilities is observed under the international theme: “Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want”.
Information taken from the United Nation’s website states that the global theme notes the recent adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role of these goals in building a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities. This year’s objectives include assessing the current status of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and SDGs and laying the foundation for a future of greater inclusion for persons with disabilities. The observance of the 2016 IDPD coincides with the 10-year anniversary of the adoption of the CRPD– one of the most quickly and widely ratified international treaties put forth by the United Nations to date.