The 2021 Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association (SLBWA) Executive Council Election saw the re-election of President Glen Simon and most other executive members during the organization’s first-ever virtual Annual General Meeting in December.
All positions were uncontested resulting in the following outcome: President – Glen Simon; 1st Vice president – Rodney Maxius; 2nd Vice president – Jazzy Smith; Treasurer – Paulette Evans; Secretary – Lydia Joseph; Public Relations Officer – Jessy Leonce; Assistant Secretary – Odulia Justin; Assistant PRO – Claudia MonLouis; Floor Members – Nikki Edmunds, Julia Menal, Antonius Tixcy, and Malaika Compton-Henry. New entrants to the executive filled the posts of Secretary and Public Relations Officer.
The election exercise was presided over by the Ministry of Youth Development & Sports’ Youth & Sports Officer, Nickson Barry. A representative for the Lions Club, Resource Mobilization Committee, and Ministry of Health and Wellness will be identified by the respective entities at a later date.
The pandemic inhibited the SLBWA’s constitutional mandate to hold executive council elections annually. The previous SLBWA executive served for three years as a result. Standing down from the executive council, with the Association’s deep gratitude for their work and support is Carolyn Simmons – first Vice President; Juliana Alfred – Head of The Mobilization Committee; Philip Charlery rep. Glaucoma Association; Scott Evans – Treasurer; Monica Felix rep. Lions Club; Floor Members – Hermina Nickles, Anthony Louis, and Yohan Alexander.
Over thirty SLBWA members gathered virtually on the video conference platform for the election of officers and the presentation of annual reports. Despite pandemic-related obstacles during the financial period under review, Executive Director Anthony Avril reported that numerous initiatives were successfully undertaken to meet the diverse needs of the Association’s constituents. He said the Association was forced to create innovative ways of providing the following assistance:
-Delivered hundreds of food packages to needy clients and families throughout the island
-Provided quality eye health interventions to many children and adults gratis
-Assisted some clients with medical bills, education supplies etc.
-Rescued and found home placement for three clients
-Lobbied for Saint Lucia’s ratification of the Treaty of Marrakesh, procured by World Blind Union; the Treaty affirms unimpeded access to print by people living with print disability
-Implemented Japanese Medical Touch Therapy Project [JMTTP] training for suitable persons with blindness/vision impairment.
-Secured funding from Japan International Cooperation Agency [JICA] to implement the following: Phase Two of Mapping and Registration Project [MRP] for people living with blindness/vision Impairment in Saint Lucia, much needed equipment for SLBWA’s Education Services and short term training for rehabilitation technicians to augment SLBWA Rehabilitation Service.
Avril assured that activities of the Association suspended by pandemic restrictions including the Kids Insight Service will receive priority in 2022. During the AGM, re-elected President Simon highlighted successes of the executive in the last term. They include:
-Renovation of the SLBWA’s internal spaces and installation of new air conditioning units
-Negotiation of upgraded telephone system for office
-Establishment of a centralized and unified payment services at SLBWA allowing for greater accountability of the association’s finances
-Collaborated for the first ever SLBWA telethon
-Signed off on the largest single donation in the last three years presented to the SLBWA of EC$100,000 by Club Gar ‘Walk 4 A Cause.’
-Instrumental in securing computers for the Association’s computer lab
-Strengthen the SLBWA’s Education Programme which saw the Ministry of Education increase its allocation to the SLBWA from $20,000 to $100,000 annually
-Coordination of the first ever awards and recognition ceremony to honour volunteers and staff for their meritorious service
-Negotiation for the services of a new Ophthalmologist for the SLBWA’s Eye Care St. Lucia programme now fully supported by the Ministry of Health and Wellness
-Production of an audio copy of the SLBWA’s constitution for members
-Supported the training of specialist teachers under the EQUIP project of the Ministry of Education
The Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association’s 2021 Annual General Meeting was held on Saturday, 4th December 2021.