November 11, 2017
KINGSTON, JAMAICA: The People’s National Party’s Youth Organization is this morning demanding an apology from Sen. Kamina Johnson- Smith to Senator Dr. Floyd Morris for the disparaging remarks she made yesterday morning while addressing the Senate on the Nation Identification and Registration Bill.
Minutes before the start of the senate, Senator Morris was given several pages of amendments in writing that he was expected to peruse for discussion. Senator Morris, who is visually impaired, expressed difficulty and asked for an adjournment of the senate to facilitate his participation in the debate. The government senators voted against his request.
As if this were not enough, the Senate majority leader, Kamina Johnson-Smith went further to mock Dr. Morris saying he would have just completed his PhD and autobiography and should therefore come into no difficulty understanding the amendments provided. This is a clear abandonment of the prior commitment she had made to senate, during the debate on the Jury Act, to work with the Parliamentary clerk to better facilitate disabled members.
This to us, is a disgraceful and calculated attack, not only on Senator Floyd Morris but also, the disabled community of this country. It demonstrates that the Government of Jamaica gives little regard to the challenges of our disable brothers and sisters and think it burdensome to accommodate them in the ways necessary to ensure their full participation.
Dr. Morris’ achievements showcase the key role our disabled community can and have played in governance.
Given the advent of the Disabilities Act, this government, especially, should foster the inclusion of all and not seek to treat our disabled Jamaicans as second-class citizens. The disabled community already faces overwhelming challenges daily; from the deprivation of sidewalks on roads, exclusion of the use of braille in schools and workplace inter alia.
The PNPYO, is therefore inviting all Jamaicans, to join their voices in demanding a public apology from Senator Kamina Johnson Smith not just to Senator Morris but the entire disabled community for her ignorance, arrogance and lack of consideration for the disabled community.
Ms. Connoly Black
PNP YO President