The Executive Director if the National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities, Lancia Isidore, has called for the creation of a home in Saint Lucia for disabled people.
Isidore’s call comes in the wake of the death of Derick Eugene, who was struck by a vehicle as he made his way home along the Millennium Highway on his wheelchair.
She disclosed that the council had tried all possible avenues in assisting the deceased, visiting three of his family members in the Ciceron area who were unable to accommodate him at the time.
“I also tried the police to get him off the streets and they were willing to cooperate, but the major challenge was finding appropriate housing for Mr. Eugene,” Isidore explained.
She said progress was slow either because spacing was limited at available institutions or there were other reasons why Eugene could not be accommodated.
Isidore revealed that attempts were also made to get him into the Mental Wellness Centre which expressed interest, but a Doctor determined that Eugene did not meet the admission criteria since he was not found to be mentally ill.
She dismissed suggestions that the disabled man was resisting efforts to get him into an institution.
“There was absolutely no fighting“, the Executive Director stated, adding that at the time he was very calm, composed and cooperative.
Isidore said Eugene’s family members had their concerns about him being on the streets.
But she disclosed that from conversations she had with them, it does not appear that they could have done very much about the situation.
“We are quite saddened by this tragic end to Mr. Eugene’s life,” Isidore told the Times in an exclusive interview.
She extended condolences to members of the family.
Isidore said there was dire need for a home for disabled people as the society gradually becomes more sensitized to the plight of disabled people.
She explained that the establishment of such a home would assist in taking care of the needs of such individuals.
Isidore suggested that such a home could have a gardening project to supplement a feeding scheme for those persons.
“I think persons with disabilities need to be empowered because there is a belief that persons with disabilities should never try to be independent and be able to support themselves, but if we give them that opportunity I think they will do their best.”