Disabled organization in crisis?

A former senior advisor to the National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), Anthony Avril, has warned that unless there is urgent intervention, the organization will collapse.

He made the disclosure today following reports that the Treasurer of the organization, Aretha Cooper, has quit.

Avril, who was the first President of the NCPD and a founder of the body, told the Times that for the past two to three years the NCPD has been focused on getting rid of its Executive Director, Lancia Isidore.

“Everything else seems to have become secondary,” he disclosed.

Avril said the justification for attempts by the current NCPD board to fire Isidore is questionable.

He explained that at the beginning of 2015 at the organization’s annual general meeting he called for the intervention of the Ministry of Health.

Avril explained that the NCPD gets a subvention from the government of Saint Lucia.

He asserted that there is need for external intervention to help the NCDP get back on track.

“The Ministry as far as I know has tried to convent meetings with the current board, but as far as I understand they have not been responding,” Avril, a former President of the organization stated.

He disclosed that the Executive Director of the NCPD is currently on medical leave, with a number of issues relating to that.

He suggested that the pressures of the job are making her sick.

Avril expressed concern that the current problems within the NCPD will impede its ability to assist Saint Lucia’s disabled, currently estimated at ten percent of the Island’s population.

“Obviously the community of disabled people is being impacted in a negative way because of the existing situation,” he asserted.

He expressed the view that the requested intervention by the Ministry of Health is urgent.

Avril said that according to the policy of Disabled People International, disabled persons should head organizations dealing with persons with disabilities.

However he explained that persons who are deemed advocates because of having siblings or close relatives with disabilities, or professionals working with disabled people qualify.

Avril told the Times that Isidore qualifies under the DPI guidelines.