By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – In early 2011 the Ptolemy Reid Rehab Centre’s major ramp system which had been installed in 1987 began showing signs of safety risk for staff and students.
Thus, the center began efforts for the reconstruction of a new reinforced concrete ramp resulting in the commissioning a brand new $8M ramp on Tuesday (December 3), coinciding with the observance International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
With the undertaking of such a project being far beyond the financial reach of the Centre, the help of the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) was solicited. The Fund donated $4M to the project. Subsequently the Ministry of Health demonstrated it support by providing the counterpart funding needed to complete construction.
At a ribbon cutting ceremony this afternoon Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Centre Administrator Cynthia Massay said the new concrete structure has a lifespan far greater than its wooden predecessor.
“It is safer for utilization by staff and students and is easier for students to navigate independently.”
The Administrator said the Centre is grateful to both CFLI and the Ministry of Health for their combined financial assistance of $8M and their guidance and cooperation at every stage of the project.
Massay added that the completion of the new ramp serves as a true representation of this year’s theme for International Day of persons Living with Disabilities which urges all to “Break Bariers, Open Doors: for an inclusive society and development for all.”
Meanwhile, Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana Dr. Nicole Giles expressed similar sentiments, stating that the commissioning of the ramp could not have come at a more poignant time.
She urged all to pause and reflect on the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as the day is observed. “We cannot relent on our efforts until they are fully integrated as active members of our societies.”
Dr. Giles said as a multi-stakeholder approach is needed to address the varied issues that affect persons living with disabilities which range from access to education, services and information and inclusion and employment adding that “as we join in the quest to alleviate the plight of the disabled populations in our countries it is important that we remember that disability concerns the whole of society.”
The Canadian High Commissioner said persons with disabilities form an important part of the mosaic of countries and their wellbeing and standard of living should be paramount.