PEOPLE who could not walk, the blind, deaf and others with varying disabilities filled a section of the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA) where emotions ran high yesterday, as they received keys from government to home sweet homes, specially outfitted for them.
Over 100 differently-abled persons – representing collectively more than 900 years of waiting for government houses – were specially invited to the ceremony which was a continuation of government’s pledge to hand out 100 homes to new owners weekly, under its housing programme.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad- Bissessar, who was the chief celebrant on the occasion, had to navigate through a throng of wheelchairs to hand out keys, even having to walk some distance from the main venue to paraplegic Marcus Ganesh whose physical condition made it impossible for him to leave the vehicle which brought him to the ceremony.
With his eight-year-old daughter by his side in the car , Ganesh in a barely audible voice said, “I feel happy, I feel wonderful…it put a smile on my daughter’s face, on everyone’s face. When people figure the doors closed, God finds a way to open it for you. I went through some terrible things but God is good,” he continued as his daughter, who was peering over his shoulder in the car, held out hope that he would be on his feet again one day.
“My daddy will walk again,” she exclaimed.
Ganesh and the other recipients waited for an accumulated period of 908 years for a place to call their own. And for most recipients, the emotional relief was too much to bear. Corinne Lois Conyette, held onto Persad-Bissessar’s hand as she wept on being presented the keys to her home by the Prime Minister.
In between sobs, Conyette thanked the Prime Minister as well as the HDC saying she waited over a decade for the opportunity to have her own home. “I couldn’t believe it when they came to me and said I had qualified for a house,” she said. “I thought I was forgotten.”
Most of the recipients who were confined to wheelchairs, were visually impaired, blind or deaf were presented with their keys by Persad-Bissessar who, together with Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal, left their places on the podium and presented each person with keys to their new homes.
Ganesh, 33, was shot during a robbery at his St Helena home in August 2012 and was left paralysed from the neck down. Two armed bandits stormed his house while Ganesh was with his wife Karen and daughter Emily, and announced a hold-up. The thieves robbed the family of three cellphones and $30.
Police said the two men kept demanding more money and when Ganesh told them that was all the money they had, he was shot twice in the chest. Since he was unable to use a wheelchair yesterday to access the ceremonial site under several tents in the SAPA car park area, Persad-Bissessar made her way to the vehicle which had brought him to the function and presented him with his keys while daughter Emily and wife Karen, 29, looked on…READ MORE