Members of the Disable Community Celebrate
Nassau, Bahamas – Disabled members of Bahamian society have been sticking and working together for decades, and this weekend, they celebrated with a lavish affair at the St. Joseph’s Parish Centre, Boyd Road.
The 32nd Disabled Person’s Organization (DPO) Appreciation & Awards Luncheon was held under the theme: “Building Bridges to A Better Quality of Life”. The DPO is steadily working to build the necessary bridges for all of their members to enjoy the same quality of life as all other members of society. They don’t want to be considered anything less than equal to their fellow Bahamians, and have therefore engaged in a series of life and skills building workshops.
During the appreciation luncheon, members who successfully completed programmes were congratulated, while the DPO took the time to honor some of the outstanding Bahamian citizens who continue to show their support to the organization.
According to DPO President Mr. William Lightbourne, the life and skills building classes have become a crucial link in the bridge-building process, as his members learn to network and meet new people, and also utilize their newly-learned skills in real ways to result in revenue generation. He said that now is an even more important time than ever for the DPO to get its word out, as Equal Opportunities Act passed in Parliament is designed to assist disabled persons in having the equal opportunities they seek, as is mandated by the United Nations.
Keynote speaker, President of the Bahamas Baptist Community College, Dr. Beulah L. Gardiner-Farquharson implored policy makers to reconsider the Equal Opportunities Bill until it suits the needs of all disabled persons in the Bahamas. Dr. Farquharson, a Disability Specialist and International Education Consultant, encouraged DPO members to keep that “something inside so strong” attitude until all of their requests are met by those who have the power to create the law in the favor of disabled persons.
Bahamas Alliance for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Anton Munroe, moderated the luncheon along with Sherman Bullard and confirmed his Alliance’s commitment to working with the DPO. Munroe, who moderated from a Brail programme, also showed off his musical talents with a solo.
Director of Social Services, Ms.Mellany Zonicle made a presentation and assisted with handing out certificates and plaques to deserving awardees. She reaffirmed the commitment of the Ministry of Social Services in working with the DPO in every way possible.
Anna-Maria Roberts was one of the DPOs first awardees. She was awarded for her mammoth effort to teach professionals how to deal with disabled persons with respect and compassion. As a part of the Bahamas Pharmaceutical Association, Ms. Roberts used the opportunity of Pharmacy Conference 2013 to present a well-attended one day seminar on proper ways of providing services such as banking and healthcare to disabled persons.
Kirklyn Thompson, better known as “Conch Man” was honored for years of dedicated service to the DPO. As a professional Public Service Driver, Mr. Thompson has been responsible for taking the DPO group to some of their most memorable events, and his experience with them has given him the expertise in how to deal with disabled people mounting and dismounting his bus, as well as how to keep the mood light and ensure everyone has a great time on the ride.
Geneva Aranha, Assistant Treasurer of the DPO, accepted an award on behalf of her employer, Royal Bank of Canada, for continued sponsorship of DPO events. Deacon Elmina Bethel, Secretary of the Bahamas Conference of Methodist Churches, was awarded for her untiring efforts to assist the DPO in the many community outreach activities they have hosted over the years.
Reverend Carrington Pinder of St. Mark’s Native Baptist Church was also awarded. He accepted the award along with his wife, Rev, Sabrina Pinder, and they were both thanked for the continued support of their church to the DPO.
Other awardees were: Monsignor Alfred Culmer of St. Joseph’s Parish, husband and wife team, Sean & Kenris Longley; and Sheldermine Cartwright of the Methodist Chruch of the Good Shepherd.