From left to right: Helen Owen (Projects and Partnerships Officer) and George Tuit (Men's Representative), Harjinder Jutle, President of the MAPD (MAPD Photo)

Government Pledges Support for Persons with Disabilities 

From left to right: Helen Owen (Projects and Partnerships Officer) and George Tuitt (Men’s Representative), Harjinder Jutle, President of the MAPD (MAPD Photo)

The Montserrat Association for Person with Disabilities (MAPD) held it’s 8th Annual General Meeting in Brades on Friday. The keynote speaker, Minister of Social Services and Health Charles Kirnon began his address by quoting Psalm 139 “I praise you because I am beautifully made” and set out the government’s ambitious plans for disability in Montserrat.

This included implementation of his party’s manifesto commitments such as duty-free imports for disability equipment and improved recreational facilities. He also said that the EU-funded tourism beach improvement programme would now ensure accessibility for all, and will include wheelchair accessible washrooms, starting with Little Bay. He said the Government recognised the importance of MAPD and that differently-abled people are equal members of society and should be treated as such.

Parliamentary Secretary Veronica Dorsette-Hector also attended the meeting.

The AGM included a presentation from Penny Maloney, the Health Promotion Officer on the government’s response to the COVID-19 virus. She also talked about the sensible precautions people need to take in response to this and Dengue, which is still affecting the island.

Harjinder Jutle was elected President of the association for the third year and Jester aka Steve “Iceman” Weekes,  was elected to serve on the Board as Vice-President.

Ms Jutle said afterwards that “we have again elected a really strong Management Board who are committed to getting things done, and who combine a range of professional skills with a lifetime of user experience. We have achieved so much in the last 12 months, including establishing our equipment store, and successfully lobbying for policy changes such as the Concessionary Fares Policy. We have also developed some novel fundraising ideas such as the 15 month disability calendar (which is still available for $20).  We are in continuous dialogue with the United Nations and the British Government and are also now represented on the World Council of Disabled People’s International. Given Mr Kirnon’s comments we are looking forward to developing a successful partnership with Government here to that will enable us to achieve even more.”