NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (November 23, 2022) — Persons with disabilities (PWDs) on Nevis and St. Kitts will now be “counted” as steps are being taken to create a database for them. At the end of data collection, the information will afford greater access and awareness to them and their needs.
At the opening ceremony of the two-day consultation of the Universal Periodic Review Trust Fund Disabilities Project – St. Kitts and Nevis (Stakeholder Consultations) on November 22, 2022, at the Nevis Disaster Management Department’s conference room, for members of civil society, and public entities, Ms. Joyce Moven Coordinator of the Sustainable Development Unit in the Ministry of Social Development on Nevis encouraged the stakeholders to throw their support behind the important move.
“Today, as we begin the process here on Nevis – a similar exercise will also be undertaken in St. Kitts – I am asking all present here to actively participate in the process. This has been a long road and the journey has only now started with first these consultations and then the administering of the survey which should give a clearer picture of the numbers of persons with disabilities.
“The creation of a database is crucial if programmes are to be designed and implemented that would positively impact the lives of PWDs. We need to know to allocate the necessary resources to ensure that PWDs are integrated into every facet of nation building. The efforts are needed now more than ever to change the narratives and to ‘humanize’ PWDs and give them every opportunity to explore their diverse potentials.
“As a nation, if we are to achieve the 2030 global agenda of attaining the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, we must have a paradigm shift with total inclusivity, embracing all citizens, irrespective of their colour, sexual orientation and abilities,” she said.
Ms. Moven described the consultation as a very worthy cause to debate and have discussions surrounding an important population, one with many vulnerabilities, one many feel have been neglected or overlooked in the greater scheme of things in many countries, and one which has the same rights to access their country’s resources.
She explained that the United Nations Universal Periodic Review Trust Fund has provided funding to St. Kitts and Nevis to undertake a survey to document the number of persons living with disabilities, the types of disabilities and the severity of these disabilities among other things.
“Not only will a survey be conducted that will gather useful information, but it is also very important to have the contribution of the wider community, hence why we are here today meeting with you as representatives of groups/organizations and as individuals who have been interacting with this community. Your input is important, as to forge the path forward, all will have to play significant roles,” Ms. Moven said.
Also present at the consultation were Ms. Juana Sotomayor, Human Rights Adviser to the UN Resident Coordinator Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean; Ms. Michelle Braithwaite, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Regional Coordinator for the English-Speaking Caribbean; Mr. Cosbert Woods, United Nations Country Coordinator for St. Kitts and Nevis; Dr. Glenville Liburd, Member UPR Trust Fund Disabilities Project in St. Kitts and Nevis; and Ms. Jasmine Browne, Consultant.