FROM all appearances, there are rumblings from within in the St. Lucia Blind Welfare Association (SLBWA).
This is one of the long-serving national associations for people with disabilities that has endured all the difficulties associated with blindness, but has been able to see and pave its way forward over the decades, thanks to a combination of external support and dynamic leadership.
The achievements of the SLBWA include everything from providing care services for members to providing sporting events that attract much public support and annual fundraising exercises aimed at bettering the entity’s ability to serve its members.
Perhaps one of the signal achievements of the SLBWA (and its like organizations in other OECS member-states) was that taken by the Eastern Caribbean Currency Authority (ECCA) to develop a set of bank notes that will feature braille and thus allow blind persons to be able to count their money like everyone else.
Like every organization, the SLBWA will, from time to time, face those internal convulsions that will lead to proverbial organizational bellyaches. This is one of those occasions, as seen in articles in this issue by two of our reporters.
The SLBWA leadership will naturally not see with the complaints being voiced publicly by members to and in the local press. That is understandable. But instead of griping or denying, it is important that those issues being highlighted be addressed by the leadership.
Whether the complainants will agree with explanations given or disagree to see with the leadership on the issues at hand is another matter. Disagreements will always exist where agreement cannot be arrived at.
However, whatever the eventuality, it is important for members of the public to understand that — just like every other organized body — representing the blind and persons with vision defects will have its issues to be addressed and members complaining may very well continue doing so for as long as they are not satisfied that their grouses have been sufficiently addressed.
Meanwhile, it is important that members of the public not allow whatever rumblings might healthily exist within the SLBWA to affect how deep we reach into our pockets or savings or other available resources to help the blind.
Public support continues to be much-needed and highly-valued when it comes to the fundraising efforts such organizations for persons with disabilities undertake or are undertaken on their behalf – and within the next few weeks there will be three opportunities to help.
This coming Friday (May 18) will see the SLBWA join with real FM radio and MBC TV to host a special telethon for the blind.
Then on May 27, the National Community Foundations (NCF) will also host its annual telethon, proceeds of which normally go to organizations in need (like the SLBWA).
Then again, on June 3, Club Gar will be dedicating its annual ‘Walk for a Cause” to the SLBWA.
What all this clearly shows is that never mind the normal and expected occasional internal organizational wrangling, the blind and visually impaired here do have support from the entire community.
What the clearly-sighted members of the community now have to ensure is that we never lose sight of and forever focus on the importance of always being there for those who need or will need our help.
That because — as we all know — one hand can’t clap; and we never know when it will be our turn (to also need help).