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Ministerial Statement April 18th, 2024


Mr. Speaker, fellow colleagues, strangers in the gallery, and the citizens of our great nation, it is indeed a great day here in these islands and certainly a privilege to be in the Nation’s Capital, here in the people’s house to deliver on behalf of the people of this country. Mr. Speaker, I align myself with the condolences expressed, particularly to the Freites family here in Grand Turk, especially Ms. Elizabeth whom we work very closely with in the Premier’s Office.

Proverbs 21:5 reads; “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” Mr. Speaker, this scripture emphasizes the importance of careful planning and diligence in managing the finances of this country. We are fully cognizant, Mr. Speaker, that the public purse belongs to the people and so we have diligently strategized how we will not only spend but invest every cent into the development of this country and its citizens. As I rise today, Mr. Speaker, I am excited as Minister of Physical Planning & Infrastructure Development, imbued with a profound sense of responsibility and a distinct vision for the future of our country’s infrastructure. Our mandate is clear: to build and maintain the physical foundation upon which our society thrives. Our commitment is to enhance the quality of life for each citizen, to develop our communities, and to strengthen the backbone of our economy; our infrastructure.

Mr. Speaker, there are several Departments under our Ministry’s purviews. Allow me to take this Honorable House through our achievement and our goals over the next fiscal year.

 *Department of Planning: **

The Department of Planning is tasked with formulating comprehensive and sustainable development plans across the country. In our quest to make services more accessible and transparent, the department will enhance data collection, analysis, and stakeholder engagement to ensure that our planning processes are inclusive and responsive to our citizens’ needs. Mr. Speaker, this new application system will enable the Department to automate plan submissions, review and approve during the processes. Users will be able to import plans and supporting documents directly into the system where they are automatically organized and routed to the appropriate viewers. Through these efforts, community development and infrastructure initiatives will be accelerated. This new electronic plan review system will transform the planning process and support efficient collaboration and improve public transparency. This initiative will enable us to build more resilient and vibrant communities for the future. This, Mr. Speaker, is the work of a progressive Government.

Over the past year, The Department has been working closely with the informal settlements unit to address these settlements within our communities. One hundred and sixty-five (165) structures have been identified for demolition, two hundred and eighteen (218) enforcement notices have been issued, three cases progressed before the court and twelve (12) penalty fines distributed totaling seventy-five thousand dollars. Mr. Speaker, this is a government in action.

Mr. Speaker, we have made progress in advancing the review and amendment of the National Physical Development Plan 2020 to make changes to the zoning of specific parcels. These amendments will facilitate sustainable urban development while ensuring compliance with local regulations and addressing community needs as they arise. This has already been noted in Cabinet and will progress to the next stages. They say the proof is in the pudding? Well, it just got sweeter because we are delivering for the people and doing more in 2024.

**Department of Housing and Community Renewal: **

Affordable housing and community renewal are key priorities for our government. The Department of Housing and Community Renewal will receive significant funding to support the development of affordable housing projects, improve community infrastructure, and revitalize blighted areas. We are committed to ensuring that all our citizens have access to safe, decent, and affordable housing options. Mr. Speaker, following the successful launch of the National Housing Policy, the Department has made significant strides in achieving its objectives. The application process was opened to the public and eleven (11) applications were received for program 1, three hundred and thirty-two (332) applications under program 2 and thirty-eight (38) expressions of interest in program 3. Of the 332 applications received, 289 were shortlisted. These applications have been grouped into batches and repairs for the first batch of applicants are due to commence shortly. The Cabinet has approved the proposal to streamline the allocation of Crown Land for Housing Development from recommendations made during the public consultation. Vehicles for this department have been tendered and we hope to have them mobilized very soon to assist with conducting site inspections during the construction phase of these projects. The Department has proposed a detailed concession package for developers under our program 1 which will incentivize their participation along with other benefits. Mr. Speaker, I know some people here are like doubting Thomas; they need to see it to believe but things are happening in this department. We are developing an online application portal to streamline the submission process of applications where the public and potential developers can upload all attachments from one location, minimizing errors and improving efficiency. Mr. Speaker, an affordability index is also being developed by the Housing Department to determine what constitutes affordable housing across the various islands and constituencies considering factors such as housing costs, household size etc. and this is being done in collaboration with the Statistics Authority.  It’s been a long time coming but change is here.

**Department of Estates Management: **

The efficient management of government estates is essential for the effective delivery of public services. The Department of Estates Management will receive additional resources to maintain and upgrade government buildings, improve efficiency, and ensure a conducive working environment for civil servants. We will also explore opportunities to optimize the use of government assets. Mr. Speaker, our public service is growing, Ministries and Departments are outgrowing their current workspaces, and Estates Management must move quickly to secure comfortable working environments for staff across the Government. To this end, a sum of $5.4M has been allocated for rental spaces to ensure that our people are in suitable environments to carry out the work that they are expected to produce. This is an increase of 15% over last year’s outturns.  Mr. Speaker, within the last fiscal year, attempts were made to privatize janitorial services, however, because we are a government who seeks to do things and do it well; we’ve met some challenges during the process and therefore made the decision to delay this project until the appropriate mechanisms have been established.

**Public Works Department: **

The Public Works Department which is responsible for the construction and maintenance of public infrastructure have an allocated sum of over $7M to support the rehabilitation of critical infrastructure, expand access to underserved areas, and enhance resilience in infrastructure projects. Our goal is to create a robust and reliable infrastructure network that supports economic growth and social development.

**Mechanical Department: **

The Mechanical Department plays a crucial role in maintaining and repairing essential mechanical systems in government buildings and infrastructure. We have allocated funds for the procurement of new equipment to improve the standards of the mechanical workshops across the islands by conducting repairs to the facilities and procuring heavy duty and specialist equipment. Training of personnel, and the implementation of preventive maintenance programs to ensure the efficient operation of mechanical systems across the country is also a priority for this division. We have commenced the preparation for a new government fleet which will include streamlining the procurement process, reviewing the existing fleet and preparing for the support of plug-in hybrid units and eventually move towards electric capabilities. Mr. Speaker, we are currently working assiduously to finalize the vehicle policy that will apply to ministries across government. It has already been drafted and circulated and will move to its final stages to be submitted to Cabinet for approval.

**Project Management Department: **

Effective project management is essential for the successful implementation of infrastructure projects. The Project Management Department will receive increased funding to strengthen project oversight, improve coordination among stakeholders, and enhance the monitoring and evaluation of projects. We are committed to delivering projects on time, within budget, and to the highest quality standards. Mr. Speaker, this budget allocation will facilitate training and certification of our staff compliment in FIDIC contracts, project management PMI and PMP from the project Management Institute, RICS for quantity Surveyors and Estimators, and other technical areas across various disciplines to ensure they remain current with standard procedures and industry practices.

**Maintenance Department: **

The Maintenance Department plays a vital role in ensuring the ongoing upkeep and maintenance of public infrastructure assets. We have increased funding for routine maintenance activities, repair works, and asset management programs to prolong the lifespan of infrastructure assets and reduce long-term maintenance costs. We are committed to ensuring that our infrastructure remains safe, functional, and sustainable for years to come.

Firstly, Mr. Speaker, the maintenance of schools and other public buildings is not just an investment in bricks and mortar; it is an investment in our future generations. Therefore, we are dedicating a significant portion of our budget to ensure that our educational facilities are not only safe and conducive to learning but are also equipped to inspire and nurture the leaders of tomorrow. We will be upgrading classrooms, improving sanitation facilities, and ensuring that our schools are technologically ready to meet the demands of modern education.

Secondly, Mr. speaker, we are acutely aware that our nation is no stranger to the wrath of nature. Hurricane shelters are a critical aspect of our disaster preparedness strategy. This year, we are increasing funds allocated to the strengthening and expansion of our hurricane shelters. These sanctuaries must be capable of withstanding the severest of storms, offering a haven to those whose homes are threatened.

In the realm of road maintenance, our budget reflects an understanding that well-maintained roads are the arteries of our economy facilitating daily commutes. We are earmarking substantial resources for the repair and resurfacing of roads, and the implementation of modern traffic management solutions to reduce congestion and enhance safety. Mr. Speaker, $2M has been allocated for the initial phase of solar streetlights across constituencies, $2M for road paving and grading, an additional $1.35M in the Framework Agreement to aid in the delivery of the Public Work Ordinance. We aren’t talking small change Mr. Speaker; we are spending big money.

Moreover, community enhancement is a testament to our belief in not just the functionality, but also the spirit of our public spaces. We are significantly increasing the budget to beautify parks, create public recreational facilities, and revitalize communal spaces. These projects are designed to foster community pride, encourage social cohesion, and promote improved family lifestyles.

Disaster Management & Emergencies

As Minister with responsibilities for the Department of Disaster Management, I am pleased to report Mr. speaker that we have given this Department two new homes in both Grand Turk and Providenciales through the purchase of a building that will serve as the headquarters and office space and the eminent relocation. Now the team will have adequate space for effective coordination of responses to emergencies. Strategic investments are at the core of this government, focusing on long-term benefits rather than short-term gains.

Mr. speaker with a designated $1.4M for generators and housing we are ensuring that the department is equipped with the necessary resources to effectively navigate any potential adverse outcomes. We are also relocating the Grand Turk team to their new office space. The budget delineates clear priorities, earmarking funds for crucial sectors such as disaster management; considering the investments outlined earlier along with significant funding for the maintenance and upkeep of our registered shelters.

Policy, Planning & Technical Support

In alignment with our national vision and development goals, we have formulated robust policies aimed at guiding the sustainable growth and modernization of our ministry’s capabilities. We have adopted a comprehensive approach and recognized that the successful implementation of our ambitious agenda requires not only vision but also technical expertise. Therefore, $1.8M earmarked for professional and consultancy affords us the opportunity to provide greater support to projects going forward.

Mr. Speaker, economic projections suggest that the implementation of this budget will lead to job creation, increased productivity, and a more robust economy and so we will improve efforts to engage contractors with periodic training sessions throughout the year equipping them with the skillset to prepare proper bids for both recurrent and capital projects. The intention is for these sessions to be hosted on all islands. Our upcoming 3rd annual contractor’s symposium will further solidify their knowledge enabling our local contractors to participate in works issued by our ministry. Mr. speaker, our aim is to create a skilled workforce with our contractors, establishing a balanced system and minimizing deficiencies in the process. We have also made progressive plans for increased media and communication competencies to keep the public informed of the various programs and expected deadlines.

Capital Projects

Despite the size of the budget, fiscal responsibility remains a foundation of our financial strategy. While there have been several capital projects re-tendered, there is still a significant number of projects that fall within this budget cycle:

  • Boats for Police (Lot 2)
  • Boats for Police (Lot 3)
  • CCTV for Police
  • Purchase of Patrol Vessel – Regiment
  • DECR Equipment – Vessel
  • DECR Equipment – Outboard Engines
  • Drainage and Site Works HJRHS
  • Highway and Road Improvements-GDT
  • Remediation Works to Ponds and Bridges – West Road and Church Folly
  • Remediation Works to Ponds and Bridges – Ponds for GDT
  • Housing Project Initiative – Program 2
  • Digitization Phase 2 – Consultancy for National Identification System – Stage 1a
  • Land Registry Digitalization Project
  • Crown Land Project
  • Climate Resilience Coastal Management
  • Bridges, Ponds and Roads – GDT Roads
  • Consultancy Framework Agreement for Public Works
  • Construction of Warehouse Building in Grand Turk
  • Consultancy for Geodetic Global Navigation Satellite Systems
  • Community Parks Development – Five Cays and Kew Town
  • Repairs to RGHS Art Block
  • Back-up Generators including Housing
  • Biosecurity Unit
  • Purchase of Incinerator
  • Ambulances for Islands (8 Ambulances)
  • Community Roads All Islands – Providenciales
  • Leeward Highway Rehabilitation Works

Mr. Speaker, the $1.8M in technical support will aid in these projects being delivered on time, within budget and with maximum return for our citizens.

Community Enhancement Program/ C.E.P

The budget for the works program in this fiscal year is ambitious; but necessary. I assure you that every dollar invested in this program has been carefully considered to improve the quality of life for our citizens, to stimulate economic growth and prepare this country for the challenges and opportunities of the future. Mr. speaker, this program has extensive cost benefits and reflects the strategic priorities of this government. In the last financial year, our efforts yielded much success through the following initiatives:


  • Construction of two (2) gazebos to the amount of $80,000.00
  • Construction of Lunch Shed at HJRHS to the amount of $86,869.00
  • RFP for the beatification of the Grand Turk sign to the amount of $37,560.00
  • Verge Cleaning works in the amount of $90K


  • Construction of fencing around landfill/dump site to the amount of $98k.
  • Verge cleaning: $37K
  • Works to water depot: $9K
  • Back-up Generator R.O Plant: $214K
  • Deans Dock Repairs: $70k
  • Gazebo – North District: $52,500.00
  • Gazebo – South District: $47,501.00
  • Refurbishment of pool area – Duncombe Point – $9,325. 00
  • Garbage receptacles x 4 – $36,582.00
  • Duncombe point $8,895.00
  • Hurricane Shelter – $9,449.00
  • Airport – $9,298.00
  • Dean’s Dock – $8,940.00
  • Fencing to Salt Cay Clinic – $5.849.85
  • Refurbishment works to Salt Shed $70k


  • Construction of Boat slip/ramp to the amount of $46K
  • Construction of Drainage cover to the amount of $36K


  • Demolition Works to the amount of $150K.


  • Construction of Sidewalks to the amount of $382K
  • Construction of gazebos to the amount of $42K
  • Construction of boat ramps to the amounts of $96K
  • Construction of Welcome Sign to the amount of $45K.

The Ministry has achieved remarkable milestones spearheading the country’s infrastructural transformation and development. Looking ahead to the new financial year, the Ministry is poised to embark on a rigorous agenda.

Mr. Speaker, we have several new and ambitious projects for the CEP and Capital Projects this year!


  • Grand Turk Market and Welcome Centre – $2.5M
  • Repairs to NJS Francis Park
  • Refurbishment of Lester Williams Park
  • Community Parks Development – North Back Salina Park
  • Refurbishment of West Road Park


  • Works to Matthew Canal- Salt Cay – $800K
  • Refurbishment of the Cricket Field – $250K


  • Improvement to Cockburn Harbour – XSC – $1M
  • Regatta Village – $1M
  • Conch Ground – $1.5M
  • Community Roads – $1.5M

North Caicos

  • Whitby Roads – XNC – $1.14M
  • Renovation of Whitby Community Center – $50K
  • Refurbishment of Hollywood Park – $40K
  • Refurbishment of Horse Stable Beach – $550K
  • Bottle Creek Community Centre – $3.2M


  • Repairs to Lorimers Community Center – $100K
  • Refurbishment of Bambara Community Centre – $50K
  • Bambara Beach Project – $800K


Leeward and Long Bay (ED5)

  • Community Roads – $350K
  • Upgrade to Leeward Palms Park – $85K
  • Develop Long Bay Walking Park – $100K
  • Speed Tables – $50K

The Bight (ED6)

  • Speed Tables – $50K
  • Construction of Sidewalks $100K
  • Tower Drive Kids Park – $100K
  • Community Parks Development – Juba Sound – $85K
  • Upgrade the Bight Community Park – $650K
  • Community Centre- Bight – $1.5M

Cheshire Hall (ED7)

  • Community Roads – $400K
  • Speed Tables – $75K
  • Construction of Sidewalks $200K
  • Refurbishment of Gustavus Lightbourne Complex – $1.2M

Blue Hills (ED8)

  • Clementina and Fuller Walkin Park – $550K
  • Community Parks Development –Blue Hills – Multipurpose court, kids shaded area, fencing lighting and parking – $150K
  • Water Connections – $100K
  • Construction of Community Entrance Signs $150K
  • Mobile Clinic – Blue Hills – $450K

Five Cays (ED9)

  • Beautification to Main Entrance to Five Cays – $100K
  • Sidewalks – Chalk Sound – $250K
  • Sapodilla Bay Beach Project – $850K

Wheeland and West Caicos (ED10) Awarded/Commenced or Completed

  • Recreational Pavilion – $500K
  • Construction of Community Entrance Signs $100K

Mr. Speaker, the investments we are making today are not expenses; they are the seeds of our future prosperity. Each dollar spent is meticulously planned to yield tangible benefits for our communities. Our infrastructure is the stage upon which the story of our nation’s progress is enacted, and with this budget, we are ensuring that this stage is set for a stellar performance in 2024 and beyond.

In conclusion, the budget allocation for the Ministry of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development reflects our commitment to promoting sustainable development, enhancing the quality of life for all citizens, and building a resilient infrastructure network for the future. We remain dedicated to efficient resource management, transparent governance, and stakeholder engagement to achieve our nation’s development goals.

Before I yield Mr. Speaker, I wish to reference a familiar scripture Matthew 6:21; “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” How we allocate our resources reflects our priorities and values. Our infrastructure reflects our collective ambition. Through careful planning, strategic investment, and a relentless pursuit of development, we are not just building roads, schools, and shelters, we are building a nation.

I will continue to support the efforts of my PPID Team and work towards a prosperous and sustainable future for the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Thank you.

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PDM 10 All-Island Candidates a Surprising Slate dubbed ‘the Avengers’



Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

The Turks and Caicos Islands need saving according to Edwin Astwood, Opposition Leader and he’s assembled his ‘Avengers’ to do it; a team of 10 district candidates who were unveiled on Monday, May 6 to contest the 2025 general elections. 

“We the PDM want to be those champions for you. We want to be your avenging team to lift the country back up,” said Astwood who is the incumbent for ED 2, Grand Turk South.

The Candidates in question were all allowed to speak:

ED 1 Grand Turk North candidate George Lightbourne, former PNP member and minister now stands ratified by the PDM and said “I am fully aware of the issues affecting our people and fully prepared to tackle them.”

ED 3 South Caicos candidate Hynetta ‘Karen’ Forbes made a vow, “To you the people of South Caicos I promise to be a positive change and an advocate for empowerment for all— to make up for the lack and neglect we have endured over the years.”

ED 4 candidate, contesting North and Middle Caicos, Denaz Williams said “I believe in good representation so try me and I guarantee you will love me.”

ED 5 Leeward and Long Bay hopeful Keith Cox said “I want to make sure my efforts go to the betterment of Leeward and Long Bay, it’s time for a change.”

ED 6 candidate for The Bight, Audric Skippings, who returns from his loss in 2021 said “I pledge to be the voice of the people, the driving force behind positive change, and the chairman of progress in our district.”

ED 7 candidate for Cheshire Hall and Richmond Hill, is Rose Higgs who swore  “I am committed to serve as someone committed to changing politics and how some politicians behave after we elect them into power, I am your Beacon of Hope, I am going to parliament!”

ED 8 Blue Hills candidate Anthony Walkin maintained “The ideas I have for the constituency will change Blue Hills— no longer will you be suffering” he swore. 

ED 9 candidate for Five Cays, popular firebrand church pastor and businessman is how many know the energetic Bryant Cox, now approved on the PDM ticket he promised “ED9 it’s our time, I stand before you a man of action ready to work for you.”

Finally, ED 10 candidate for Wheeland Vaden Delroy Williams, who lost to newcomer Kyle  Knowles, now-Minister of Public Safety and Utilities by only a few votes in 2021, said “I am back because you have asked me to come back—because of the love I have for my people…”

They join the already announced all-island candidate team of Robert Been, Ruth Ariza, Karen Malcolm, Sean Astwood, and Ralph Higgs.

Sean Astwood, the former Five Cays members and deputy premier in the Sharlene Robinson administration, had missed the PDM’s all-island slate announcement on March 22; during the constituency candidates roll out had his say.

“Returning to politics was not an easy decision for me and I didn’t make it lightly— I came back because I believe we have a responsibility to stand up for what is right,” said Astwood.

Opposition Leader Edwin Astwood was especially excited to unveil the array of candidates having been the sole elected representative for the past four years. 

“Being in the fight alone these three and a half years wasn’t easy— I was in this battle alone but now you gave me 15 people, they had trouble when it was just me so imagine now with this team coming,” he exclaimed.

Astwood was the only PDM representative to be re-elected in February 2021 when the current PNP Administration gave them a historic walloping, storming their way to victory 14 to 1. Seven of those 2021 candidates including the party’s leader have returned to fight again in the upcoming elections which are constitutionally due in early 2025.

Ezra Taylor, National Party Chairman is convinced that the ‘rescue team’ will serve the Turks and Caicos to its fullest potential.

“Real representation, meritocracy, and honest engagement with our people will be the order of the day in the governance of the Turks and Caicos islands,” he continued “Our candidates embody the values that define us as a country, integrity, compassion, and a relentless dedication to the common good.”

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Post Cabinet from May 1 Meeting; Former DG to be honoured and two new members for TCICC Board of Governors



Her Excellency the Governor, Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam, chaired the 13th meeting of Cabinet on Wednesday May 1st, 2024 at the NJS Francis Building, Grand Turk.

All Members were present; with the exception of the H.E. Deputy Governor and the Honourable Minister of Immigration who were away from the islands on official duties.

At this meeting Cabinet:

  1. Welcomed the return of the Cabinet to the Cabinet Room at the NJS Francis Building following the major repairs and redevelopment work undertaken to the building .
  2. Approved the purchase by private treaty of Parcel 60605/117, Norway and Five Cays Providenciales as part of the PATCI, land acquisition
  3. Approved the Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism (Taxation)(Exemptions)(No. 2) Regulations 2024.
  4. Noted a report on the concessions granted under the Property Ownership Incentive Program Policy and the Turks and Caicos Stamp Duty Reduction Policy for Turks and Caicos Islands Status Holders and British Overseas Territories Citizens.
  5. Approved the renaming of the Safe House for At-Risk Young Girls to the Hon. Mahala Wynns’ Empowerment Home.
  6. Noted the resignation of Ms. Julianna Musgrove as a member of the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College Board of Governors (TCICC BoG) and  approved the appointment of Mrs. Sheba Wilson as a member of the TCICC BoG for a period of three years.
  7. Noted the resignation of Ms. Bernadya Smith as Secretary to the Physical Planning Appeals Tribunal and approved the appointment of Ms. Vershina Forbes as Secretary to the Physical Planning Appeals Tribunal for a period of three years.
  8. Noted an update on issues related to ongoing bomb threats at the JAGS McCartney International Airport and the Howard Hamilton International Airport and the steps being taken by the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police in relation to the same.
  9. Noted an update on Court related matters.

Further information on these matters will be provided by Ministers in due course.

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Bahamas News

Minister LaRoda: Disability inclusion is an ‘overarching goal’ of the Administration



National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) Commissioners, group photo, from left: Craig Delancy, Geneva Cooper, Maxine Stubbs, Kendrick Rolle, Minister Myles LaRoda, Chairperson Nalini Bethel, Jerome Thompson, and Gillian Bethel. (BIS Photos/Anthon Thompson)

NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Government of The Bahamas supports and embraces persons with disabilities and will continue to ensure that the requirements of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities) Act (2014) are enforced through positive and continuous actions, inclusive of new amendments to the Act, Minister of Social Services, Information and Broadcasting, the Hon. Myles K. LaRoda said Thursday.

The year 2024 marks the tenth anniversary of the passage of the Act which was implemented to end discrimination against persons with disabilities as well as promote their rights and provide equal opportunities, amongst other provisions.

Mr. LaRoda said “disability inclusion” is an overarching goal of the Davis Administration. He was addressing the fifth in a series of ‘Let’s Talk Disability’ Town Hall Meetings hosted by the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities – two each in Andros and Long Island, and one in New Providence.

The Minister of Social Services, Information and Broadcasting expanded upon the significance of disability inclusion – in action.

“Inclusion, in action, is the demonstration that we, in The Bahamas, are an inclusive society and that we celebrate and encourage persons with disabilities in the same way as we do others,” Minister LaRoda said.

“We are no different than other countries with regard to the range of disabilities which include physical, behavioural, emotional, sensory, neurological and developmental. As a country, we must focus on the role that we, the community, must play as it relates to persons with disabilities, recognizing that there should never be a distinction between one member of society over another. Disability Inclusion is an overarching goal of countries across the globe.”

Mr. LaRoda said “unfortunately,” people living with disabilities are still often marginalized and are seen as outsiders in the communities.

“But my Ministry and its partners are making every effort through events such as these Town Halls to correct this gross misconception and stereotypical belief.”

He told Persons with Disabilities, their families, friends, and advocates attending Thursday evening’s Town Hall Meeting (held at the Cleveland Eneas Primary School) that they too have a role to play.

“This also means that you too have a responsibility to share with us and to let us know how we might improve the quality of your life; let us know instances of unfair treatment or discrimination; let us know when our service to you needs to be improved. After all, we are the Ministry of Social Services and we are here to serve you and to understand how we might serve you better.

“Today, we address the concerns of this community in New Providence and I urge you to take this opportunity to voice your concerns to those who work every day, promoting the rights of Persons with Disabilities and celebrating them.”

Minister LaRoda said embracing the needs of the community of persons with disabilities “shows that we are serving in very pragmatic ways.”

He pointed to the efforts undertaken by corporate entities such as ALIV, NAD, Rotary, the Chinese Embassy and others, whom he said demonstrate, by their actions, that there is a serious attempt at inclusion.

“ALIV for example worked with the Ministry of Public Personnel to employ some 20 persons with Disabilities; NAD initiated the Sunflower Lanyard for hidden disabilities and continues to initiate trailblazing programs to ease travel conditions on behalf of persons with disabilities. Rotary consistently provides wheelchairs to the physically disabled as does NCPD, and with donations from the Chinese Embassy, we were able to donate educational toys and devices, hearing aids and other items.

“We are so very grateful for such corporate partnerships as it is important that the community is embraced at both a public and private level so that persons with disabilities can feel valued, respected, and supported. We welcome with open arms other corporate entities that may wish to become partners in this cause to improve the lives of those who live with a disability,” Mr. LaRoda added.






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