CONTACT: JENEVA GORDON Thirty students, some with severe hearing, visual, and physical disabilities, were presented with certificates on June 27, after successfully completing studies at the Abilities Foundation.Speaking at the graduation ceremony, held on the grounds of the institution, at 191 Constant Spring Road, Kingston, Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Board Director, Sarah Newland-Martin, commended the graduates on their achievements, and implored them to continue striving for excellence.She urged them to maintain high standards in their endeavours, pointing out that despite their challenging circumstances, they are equally important to the society and capable of attaining and fulfilling their highest potential.Mrs. Newland-Martin also lauded the parents, family members, and caregivers who supported the graduates during their course of study, against the background of what she said are the varying challenges encountered over the years.“The work of the staff cannot go unmentioned, because they too have also contributed significantly to the overall success of the graduating class, and many others who have benefitted from the programmes,” she stated.While noting that the Abilities Foundation has made tremendous strides over the years, through its programmes, to meet the needs of more persons with disabilities islandwide, Mrs. Newland-Martin said its efforts to this end are, to some extent, constrained for various reasons. She also noted the challenges experienced by persons with disabilities, pointing out that these are often financial, educational, medical, social, marital, or psychological.Mrs. Newland-Martin, who is physically challenged, lamented that persons with disabilities tend, to some extent, to be ignored by society, with many encountering persistent discrimination. This, she pointed out, often results in this special group being marginalized out of the country’s economic and civil processes, among others.“Often times they are denied their rights to move freely, access social protection, and proper medical care, which causes them to live in poverty. They have a hard time in school, and also finding jobs, because of their conditions,” she said.Alluding to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which emphasizes, among other things, the need to break prevailing barriers encountered by the disabled so as to improve their welfare, Mrs. Newland-Martin said persons with special needs should be provided with the appropriate resources that facilitates their seamless incorporation into the society.Additionally, she underscored the need for persons in the wider society to be educated about developments relating to persons with disabilities, in order for them to fully understand the special group’s circumstances.Administered by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) since 1992, the Abilities Foundation currently caters to persons, aged 17 to 65 years, with physical and mental challenges.
Tom FennarioAPTN NewsTraffic was backed up on different parts of Hwy 401 Friday by a caravan of mainly from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, who purposely drove slowly in a show of solidarity for members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation.One caravan began near Cornwall, Ont. and headed west, while another close to London, Ont.Reports suggested they were driving between 45 km/h to 60 km/h. The speed limit is 100 km/h.The Ontario Provincial Police basically provided an escort for the rolling blockades.Brandon Doxtator photo.RCMP took 14 people into custody Monday after rushing a homemade checkpoint on Gidimt’en territory set up to block Coast GasLink employees from reaching a healing centre on Unist’ot’en territory.Coast GasLink wants access through the Unist’ot’en camp 20 kilometres up the Morice River road from the Gidimt’en check point to complete preparatory work on the 670-kilometre pipeline.The camp has been standing for nearly a decade to prevent three proposed pipelines from cutting through Wet’suwet’en territory.The company has signed agreements with elected representatives of 20 First Nations along the pipeline route.Anger greeted news Wednesday that hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs brokered a peaceful end to a potentially violent pipeline standoff.Leader Freda Huson stormed out of a closed-door meeting at the Unist’ot’en camp south of Houston, B.C., and slammed the door.She just learned chiefs promised the RCMP she and her partner Warner Naziel would abide by rules of an interim court injunction in exchange for calling off a police [email protected]@tfennario