Voices That Count Conference Held in the Virgin Islands

December 29, 2011

The 8th Annual Voices That Count Conference was held in the Virgin Islands on November 2nd and 3rd, 2011.  The conference brought together persons with disabilities, family members of persons with disabilities, service providers, advocates and policy makers to address issues of concern to persons with disabilities in the community.

Emergency Preparedness was the theme for this year's conference which featured a keynote presentation by James D. Flemming, Regional Disability Integration Specialist for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Region II.  The keynote was followed by a panel discussion which included Mr. Elton Lewis, Director of the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA), Mr. Christopher Finch, Commissioner of the Virgin Islands Department of Human Services, Ms. Rosemary J. Sumas, Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities, Inc. and Dr. Leigh A. Readdy, Disaster Relief and Preparedness Chair for Rotary District 5030.  The panel discussion focused on existing plans for disaster services for the disabled, local challenges including limited financial resources and possible solutions.

The afternoon portion of the conference consisted of breakout sessions which allowed local senators to provide legislative updates in relation to Education, Health, Housing and Transportation.  Senators were able to address specific questions and concerns from community members.