Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 04, 2019 (SKNIS): The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis continues to take concrete steps to ensure that members of the differently abled community can lead productive and enjoyable lives in the twin-island federation.
The term “functional capacity,” which is defined as the capability of performing tasks and activities that people find necessary or desirable in their lives, has been embraced by the Cabinet. During the opening of the 10th Regional Assembly of Disabled People’s International North America and the Caribbean held in August 2019 at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort, Deputy Prime Minister the Honourable Shawn Richards told delegates that “improving the functional capacity of persons with disabilities here in St. Kitts and Nevis has been central to the Team Unity administration’s interaction and engagements with this very important constituency.”
Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris has been at the forefront of this initiative. At his Prime Minister’s Monthly Press Conference on Thursday, October 03, 2019, he stated that “my government has been mainstreaming care and consideration of the differently abled in our society.”
The prime minister pointed to several projects undertaken by the government that have features built in to accommodate the differently abled.
“You see this reflected in the upgrade and rehabilitation of the island main road in St. Kitts. Wheelchair-accessible sidewalks have been incorporated in the road upgrade plan. Sidewalks with wheelchair access have also been included in the plan to enhance the South Frigate Bay Area, specifically in the vicinity of the popular Strip,” Dr. Harris stated.
Prime Minister Harris also referenced two of the newest transportation stations in St. Kitts and noted that the differently abled can be comfortable while waiting in transit.
“Our East Line Bus Terminal, and the refurbished Basseterre Ferry Terminal, which opened last year, both have wheelchair ramps – and so does our Inland Revenue Department at the John Gumbs Building on the Bay Road,” the prime minister added. “We will soon be operating a lift right here at Government Headquarters. This has been done in an attempt to make doing business in Government Headquarters much easier for the disabled and elderly people. Our new Government Printery will also be wheelchair accessible when completed and it too will have an elevator.”
Additional developments will be rolled out over time as changes are made to reflect provisions outlined in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Prime Minister Harris signed the Convention on Friday, September 27, 2019, while in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.