by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Disabled Parking Only signs donated to GNCD by Grenadian Winston Strachan
- Signs to be installed at Scott Street building and Progress House on the Carenage
- Multipurpose centre to be constructed in Calliste
NOW Grenada’s 23 January story ‘Lack of disabled parking signs a concern for GNCD,’ has brought attention to the public disregard of the no parking zone near the building of the Grenada National Council for the Disabled (GNCD) located on Scott Street.
Following the report, Grenada-born Councillor Winston Strachan of the Northamptonshire County Council, England was compelled to assist. Strachan was appalled at the lack of sensitivity to the plight of disabled people and sympathetic to the challenges faced by Rudy James, featured in the report.
Strachan is no stranger to helping people. According to the council website, “Winston is Chairman of the Environment, Development and Transport Scrutiny Committee. As a County Councillor and a person, Winston’s main areas of interest include education and health, children and families. He is particularly keen on provisions for young mothers, especially those living in deprived areas of Northampton. Winston is also very much aware of the every day difficulties faced by the elderly, the disabled and ethnic minorities within our community. He takes a particular interest in communities, environmental and community safety issues.”
Strachan said, “We were scanning through some videos from the NOW Grenada website, and I came across a report. I was taken in by the fact that people appear to be parking right at the front where the disabled entrance is, and it was causing not just a nuisance to the people who use the building and the disabled people, it was also in my view wrong. I showed the video to my wife, and we decided then and there that we should do something about it.”
He contacted the GNCD through NOW Grenada, and purchased the Disabled Parking Only signs online. He said he was very sympathetic to see that in 2018, the way people disrespect and disregard the rights of people living with disabilities. “These people have exactly the same rights as we do, and this right should be respected. I also felt that perhaps people should be made more aware of the requirements of people with disabilities. It is very unfortunate if you don’t talk to disabled people to understand their plight, to find out ways to make their lives more comfortable. This is only a small gesture.”
Three weeks later Strachan handed over the signs to the GNCD. Coordinator Hillary Gabriel said, “We didn’t even know of the gentleman, and he saw the cry, rescued us, and here we are today receiving 5 signs so that people will not utilise the parking allocated for people with disabilities.”
Gabriel thanked the media house “…because you were here when Rudy and Ms Hopkin advocated for people out there not to block the entrance.” She noted that 3 signs would be placed at their Scott Street building ,and the other 2 will be placed at the White Cane Industries workrooms at Progress House on the Carenage. “We will be working along with the RGPF Traffic Department to make sure we are putting it up in accordance with the Laws of Grenada.”
Traffic cones are currently being used to prevent people from parking near the entrance. Head of the Traffic Department, ASP Lenford Kingston, is actioning his commitment to repaint the no parking sign on the pavement directly in front of the GNCD building, since the previous marking is not clearly visible after the resurfacing of the pavement.
Gabriel informed NOW Grenada that a government-allocated plot of land in Calliste will eventually be the home of a multipurpose centre for people with disabilities, and efforts are in motion to relocate GNCD headquarters there.
“In that building, we have a lot of amenities like a working room for White Cane Industries. We even have a recording room where people will be trained to operate a camera. We will have a kitchen garden outside that will supply the kitchen with fresh fruits and vegetables. We’ll have a braille room and other things for people with disabilities. We hope it will become a nice facility where people wishing to purchase local merchandise before travelling can walk right in, since it will be close to the MBIA [airport].”
Gabriel said the organisation visited the National Centre for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) in Trinidad and spoke with CEO Dr Beverly Ann-Marie Beckles, who has agreed to work along with the GNCD to make this project become a reality. Gabriel said a committee would be put in place this year specifically to plan and present a funding proposal for constructing a state of the art facility. That project will cost more than $5 million.
The GNCD in the spirit of giving, donated books and toys selected from a January donation by Jane Garfield of the non-profit organisation, the Toy Project of England, to 2 schools: St Andrew RC and Green Street Pre-Primary.