(CMR) The Cayman Islands Government has appointed new members to the National Council of Persons with Disabilities, bringing the number of persons with disabilities represented on the Council from three to seven.
Members of the Council are Chairperson Dr. Annette Stephenson; Deputy Chair Shan Harriman along with Jessica Ebanks, Laurie-Ann Holding, Sloane M. Pharr, Cathy Frazier, Renee Howell, Elizabeth Charles, Roz Griffiths, Dr. Obinna Eleweanya, Faith Rochez, Danielle Roberts, Dr. Catherine Day, Janett Flynn, Dr. Aidan Tumilty, Magda Embury, Kenneth I. Ebanks, and Kimberly Voaden.
While there are new members, a number of others were re-appointed to draw on their expertise and experience as well as to provide continuity of a historical knowledge base. All appointees bring a breadth of knowledge and insight to advocate for persons with disabilities across the Cayman Islands.
In commenting on the appointments, Premier Hon. Wayne Panton stated, “I am pleased to welcome the new members of the Council, and I thank the inaugural Council for its vision, hard work and dedication. It is an honor to work with Caymanians who give so selflessly of their time to champion the rights of the vulnerable, disenfranchised, and those who may not be able to advocate for themselves.”
“I look forward to receiving recommendations from the NCPD, an essential Cayman Islands institution whose work helps to highlight and alleviate social prejudices while meaningfully enhancing the lives of persons with disabilities across our country,” Panton added.
Newly appointed Chair, Dr. Stephenson, who has spent over sixteen years advocating for persons with hearing loss in the Cayman Islands, expressed her delight in being part of the Council and her enthusiasm that she has been given the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to the diverse needs of individuals in the community, including those with disabilities.
“As a person with a disability who works with a wide range of individuals with disabilities on a daily basis, I am enthusiastic about promoting awareness and education on these vital matters. I also hope that fostering increased acceptance, compassion, and understanding for all community members, regardless of their disability status, will be a central goal for this Council,” she said.
The purpose of the National Council of Disabilities is to advise the public and private sector on disability issues and monitor the Cayman Islands Government’s efforts to implement the Disability Act and relevant policies. It also serves to bring the views of people with disabilities and local organizations who serve that group closer to the government.
Membership is made up of various appointees from a wide cross-section of the community who understand and represent the disabled population due to either their own personal lived experiences or because of their work with persons with disabilities.