BRADES, Montserrat (December 3, 2023) – The Montserrat Association of Persons with Disabilities joins with the United Nations in commemorating International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
December 3 is marked globally as a day to recognise people living with a disability. The 2023 theme is: United in action to rescue and achieve the SDGs for, with and by persons with disabilities.
“Given the multiple crises of today’s world, achievement of the SDGs is in peril. At the mid-point of the implementation period for the 2030 Agenda, the world is not on track to reach numerous SDGs targets by 2030. For many, progress has either stalled or regressed below the 2015 baseline,” a UN statement noted.
“Preliminary findings from the forthcoming UN Disability and Development Report 2023 indicate that the world is even more off track in meeting several SDGs for persons with disabilities. Our efforts to rescue the SDGs for, with and by persons with disabilities need to be intensified and accelerated, given that persons with disabilities have historically been marginalized and have often been among those left furthest behind,” continued the UN release.
Jester “Iceman” Weekes, Vice President of the MAPD said the organisation wants to increase its advocacy efforts for the disabled in Montserrat.
“The MAPD has had its own challenges over the past year with the loss of a significant number of our leadership team and members due to migration. However, we remain committed to advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities on Montserrat,” said Weekes in a prepared statement from the association.
“We want to intensify our efforts to champion more opportunities for work and a good quality of life for persons with disabilities.
Remember not all disabilities are visible. We welcome you to join us if you or a member of your family are managing a disability, be it physical or neuro diverse,” Weekes added.
The association is pleased that it has been able to contribute to critical infrastructural project consultations and policies for Montserrat, as well as international conversations and reports on disability.
Over the last year, the MAPD was invited by consultants from the Caribbean Development Bank to help with their disability audit of the Montserrat Port Development Project. The views of 14 people with disabilities on the island made it into the final report, and we support the recommendations around access and employment.
The association has also worked with the Ministry of Finance on the Sustainable Development Plan and with the International Labour Organisation to develop a disability strategy for all overseas territories. In October, VP Weekes attended the 31st Public Service International World Congress in Geneva Switzerland at the invitation of Nyota N C Mulcare, President of the Montserrat Civil Service Association (MCSA).
MAPD also became a member of the Commonwealth Disabled People’s Forum and is working with them on their policy. The non-profit has also submitted evidence to the UK parliamentary inquiry into its relationship with the overseas territories.
In the coming year, the MAPD aims to help with the completion of Montserrat’s Sustainable Development Plan and ensure it is inclusive, meet architects to discuss the new hospital design, and discuss with the relevant departments, arrangements for disability inclusion in the 2024 election.
Mobile voting for people who cannot get to the polls has been promised, and election observers are always keen to speak with the association about their experience.
MAPD’s paper to the University of the West Indies on accessible health services in Montserrat Recruitment will be included in a book slated for publication in 2024.
Residents of Montserrat are invited to contact the association to learn how they can join its membership as more support is needed to continue its work for persons with disabilities.
Learn more about the MAPD via their Facebook page @MontserratDisability.
Formed in 2012, the Montserrat Association of Persons with Disabilities (MAPD) is a registered non-profit which advocates for the rights of people living with disabilities. MAPD is the first disability organisation from a British Overseas Territory to be represented on the World Council of Disabled People’s International and is member of the Commonwealth Disabled People’s Forum. Membership is open to residents who are living with or caring for a person with a disability.
About International Day of Disabled Persons
The annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons was proclaimed in 1992, by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3. The observance of the Day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
File Photo – Jester Iceman Weekes and Nyota Mulcare at PSI in Switzerland on Oct 14, 2023 – MCSA Photo