SLBWA Pays Tribute to First Academic Instructor of Blind and Visually Impaired students, Steven Kennedy Edmunds

Steven Kennedy Edmunds
Steven Kennedy Edmunds

As a child Steven Kennedy Edmunds was sponsored by the Saint Lucia Women’s Association, which also enrolled him as a student of the School for Blind Children in Trinidad and Tobago in 1955. He successfully completed his schooling and graduated in 1963.

Thereafter, a youthful Steven Kennedy Edmunds returned to Saint Lucia imbued with the desire to give back from his experience to the development of Blind and Visually Impaired (B -VI) youth in Saint Lucia.

A son of the soil of Saltibus, Laborie, he was the first academic instructor of Blind and Visually Impaired students in Saint Lucia and headed the Education Service Department for said children from 1964 until 1980. This tenure was interrupted by a Canadian Government Scholarship which sponsored his training as a Special Teacher of children with B -VI, from 1969 to 1972, by W. Ross McDonald School and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB).

In 1984, he returned to head the local drive to integrate Blind and Visually Impaired students into the school system and maintained that position until 1999. He remained a proactive member of the SLBWA, the Blind-VI Self Advocacy Social Club, and Vice President of the National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD).

In 2020 Mr. Edmunds was presented with an award as a tangible expression of appreciation at the Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association’s Inaugural Awards and Recognition Ceremony. The award was presented by Sir Neville Cenac, who was the Governor General of Saint Lucia at the time.

In 2021 he was declared a worthy companion of James Alves and has been shortlisted and confirmed to receive the James Alves Award by the Caribbean Council for the Blind (CCB), for his invaluable contribution and many years of unwavering work in the interest of the Blind and Visually Impaired citizens of Saint Lucia.

Steven Kennedy Edmunds passed away peacefully at his residence at the age of 78, on March 3, 2023, leaving to mourn his wife Ina Deterville – Edmunds and their five sons and six daughters, relatives and friends.

The funeral service was conducted by the Church of God Seventh Day and took place on the La Clery Playing field Monday, March 27, 2023.

Steven Edmunds will be remembered as a very strong willed, dedicated and self-motivated individual, who believes that people with blindness and vision impairment must be included in all aspects of societal activities. He led a special contingent of blind and visually impaired participants in (deceased minister’s) Romanus Lansiquot’s “Hands Across Saint Lucia” through the rain forest in the mid – eighties which demonstrated his own personal commitment to inclusion of the blind in national development.

Steven Edmunds fought to pave the way for blind and visually impaired citizens to enjoy equal rights as benefactors and contributors to their nation’s prosperity.

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