Minister De Weever donates to Be Able committee – “Create friendly environment for the disabled”

POSTED: 11/21/12 1:07 PM

GREAT BAY- As St. Maarten prepares to welcome an awareness week for the physically challenged organized by the Be Able Committee, Public Health Minister Cornelius de Weever is urging the community to create a friendly environment for the disabled.

De Weever’s remarks followed a cheque that he presented to the Be Able Committee on Monday to assist with the week’s activities which includes a march and a wheelchair tennis tournament.

“There is a lot that we take for granted every day but there is a fine line between being physically able and physically challenged.  An accident or a stroke can leave you physically challenged. We must think and plan with this in mind. Sidewalks must be constructed; entrances to home, businesses and community centers must be built with this in mind,” he said.

He added that many tourists who visit St. Maarten are often faced with challenges because of their physical disabilities and the island must be prepared to adequately accommodate them.

“Numerous tourists that we get on island are also faced with the same type of physical challenges. They need wheelchairs and getting around is a bit difficult. I have had a personal experience of a friend visiting as well who was bound to a wheelchair and maneuvering through Philipsburg was very challenging.”

The cheque of an undisclosed amount was handed over to committee members Henri Brookson and Michel Soons who both expressed gratitude for the donation.

“It is a sign that government does care. What we are striving to do is bring more light in the existence of the physically challenged on St. Maarten,” Brookson stated.

He took the opportunity to invite the minister to Saturday’s march, adding “We want to call on the community at large to really come out and show support. It is everybody’s business to take care of those who are challenged in our society.”

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