Guyana Association of the Visually impaired launched
Guyana Chronicle
November 17, 2002

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MINISTER within the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security, Ms. Bibi Shadick has committed her Ministry to assist and support ventures of the new Guyana Association of the Visually Impaired (GAVI), which was launched yesterday.

She also stands ready to give support in her personal capacity should the need arise.

GAVI was yesterday launched with a ceremony at the Police Officers Mess, Eve Leary, Georgetown. In attendance were several Government officials, diplomats and Opposition Leader, Mr. Desmond Hoyte.

The Interim Management Committee was also installed by Labour Minister Dr. Dale Bisnauth with Mr. Egerton Cooke as Chairman, Mr. Leon Amsterdam, Vice Chairman, Roanna Yearwood, Secretary, and Lance McCaskey, Treasurer. Committee members are Colleen Lewis, Stacey Britton, Sheik Sadiq, and Sandra Plummer.

Sharing her thoughts on the establishment of the association, Minister Shadick said its time has come and urged the members to ensure that it is dynamic.

She was pleased to note in the constitution that though the association extends membership to the sighted, only the blind can vote. She said the latter are quite capable of making decisions for themselves.

She pointed out that the visually impaired have only lost their sight but not their intelligence and definitely not their talent as she referred to the cultural presentations that featured in yesterday's programme.

She, however, noted that their disability has put them in a more vulnerable position than other disabled persons and that they should be paid more attention to.

She therefore pledged that her Ministry will continue to be of assistance to them and will support the ventures of the association.

The Minister said she is also looking to the Education Ministry to put in place arrangements for teachers to be so trained to deal with blind persons who might be attending the University of Guyana and the Cyril Potter College of Education.

She wished them all the best and expressed the hope that they achieve all their objectives.

The association was formed out of the need for the blind in Guyana to have a better quality of life, according to Mr. Cooke.

He noted that there are many prominent blind persons who have contributed much to the Guyanese society, among them Mr. Newton Profit, Head of the Adult Education Association; Ms Julie Lewis, Assistant Editor, Guyana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC); Ms Ingrid Peters, recently awarded for her excellent work at the University of Guyana, and Mr. Roy Maynard, teacher at St Stanislaus whose students have excellent results.

He pointed out that visually impaired persons have not lost their intelligence or the desire to strive for betterment.

According to him, the establishment of the association is also aimed at preventing blindness while rehabilitating the blind.

He said that for too long, blind persons have had difficulty in walking in the streets, climbing steps and even in collecting their pensions.

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