Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles has issued a call for greater social inclusion of people with disabilities.
He was speaking during yesterday’s (April 16) appointment ceremony for the Tobago Coordinating Committee for Persons with Disabilities (TCCD) at the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development at Wilson Road, Scarborough.
The Chief Secretary believes there is a need for greater public awareness and participation in providing support for those with disabilities, adding that it should have “a level of priority”.
“We all have a responsibility to help persons with disabilities to live as much of a normal life as possible,” Charles said.
He added: “It is important for us to adopt a broader approach to the issue, so that we can create greater sensitivity about the disability spectrum, acknowledging the various forms of disabilities and the needs of the people, instead of only highlighting a few main ones.”
Health Secretary Dr. Agatha Carrington said although there are services available for the differently-abled through the Social Welfare Department, this is not enough to support all of the differently-abled people in Tobago.
She stressed the need for pursuing inclusiveness and equality of all sectors in the population, and highlighted the Division’s mandate of “leaving no one behind”.
The event also doubled as a signing ceremony for a memorandum of understanding between the Division and the Committee.
The TCCD is an amalgamation of differently-abled organisations throughout Tobago. The Division has provided the Committee with an office space and seed grant of $100,000 for start up and operation.
Cordella Pantin (Tobago School for Deaf, Speech and Language Impaired) – Chairman
Dotsie Baccus (Technical Vocation Centre for Persons with Disabilities) – Deputy Chairman
Ria Paria (Autism Tobago) – Secretary
Janette Polle-Peters – Liaison Officer
Karen Boatswain (Division of Education, Innovation and Energy) – Member
Jason Clarke (Disability Unit, Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development) – Member
Dianne Le Cointe (Tobago Council for Handicapped Children/Happy Haven School) – Member
Leeanna Alexander (Down Syndrome Family Network) – Member
Linda Phillips-Samuel (Tobago Affairs Committee for the Blind and Visually Impaired) – Member
Wren Gray (Disabled People’s International, Tobago Region)