Theresa Browne of the National Assistance Board showing Minister of Social Care, Steve Blackett and patrons??some of the promotional material which was on displayat the public awareness initiative. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

The work of this island’s Vulnerable Persons’ Committee came under the spotlight, recently, as it staged a public awareness initiative to draw attention to its role, existence and function.

Held at the Princess Margaret Secondary School, the initiative saw the Committee, which operates under the aegis of the National Assistance Board, in collaboration with other governmental and non-governmental organisations, displaying promotional material to residents of surrounding districts.

The Committee was established to identify persons who are regarded as vulnerable in society and to compile a list of their locations and the necessary support mechanisms for those persons. Additionally, it develops, reviews, updates and executes a disaster plan which includes the evacuation of the vulnerable persons to a safe location.

Delivering the feature address, Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett, lauded the work of the Committee and pledged his support to its upcoming initiatives.

"I am truly impressed by your Committee’s strong emphasis of bringing groups and resources together for the benefit of the disabled community.?? Your model of community organisation and development will no doubt ensure the swift identification and evacuation of these vulnerable persons in the event of an impending system," the Minister stated.

He also praised the Committee for ensuring that the six hurricane shelters which were designated as disabled-friendly, were up to standard. Minister Blackett noted that these efforts supported Article 11 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which requires that: "State parties shall take…all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including…the occurrence of national disasters."

Minister Blackett affirmed that the public awareness initiatives would continue, in an effort to sensitise the public on how to appropriately respond to an emergency or hazard, and how to assist vulnerable persons from within their community.

The Vulnerable Persons’ Committee aims to attract other bodies to assist in its outreach and to encourage community practitioners to identify vulnerable persons in their districts. The Committee may be contacted at 426-3131.


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