Floyd Morris aims at UN disabilities committee seat

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Floyd Morris aims at UN disabilities committee seat

Monday, November 30, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Opposition Senator Dr Floyd Morrison says that if he fails to win a seat on the nine-member United Nations' Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) during today's election, it would be no fault of the government.

“I am looking with great anticipation, and (even) if there is a negative outturn it wouldn't be through a lack of trying or effort on the part of the Government of Jamaica, because they have really put all their support mechanisms behind me and I am really appreciative,” Morris told the Senate on Friday.

He was responding to an announcement by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade (MFAFT), Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, who has been leading the charge for his election through the efforts of her ministry and overseas diplomatic staff.

Today, approximately 180 members of the UN will be voting to select nine new members of the CRPD from a field of about 29 candidates at the organisation's headquarters in New York City. In accordance with articles 34, paragraphs 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, there is a need to select the 9 new members of the CRPD to replace those whose terms are due to expire on December 31, 2020. Tenure on the committee is for four years.

Senator Johnson Smith expressed her confidence that Senator Morris will make the cut, with the support of the 15 Caricom nations involved, as well as a number of other countries who have signalled their intention to vote for the Jamaican candidate since last week.

”I sought and obtained the endorsement from Caricom for Dr Morris' candidature, and this of course lends him towards other support groups who tend to take note when Caricom has given its full endorsement as a body of 15,” she told the Senate.

She noted that a virtual reception was held by the ministry on Tuesday, to seek the votes of several other participants in the process, to allow Senator Morris to present himself them and for the ministry to highlight his work on behalf of the community of disabled persons in Jamaica.

Also paying tribute to Senator Morris was the Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate, Senator Donna Scott Mottley, who also highlighted the ministry's support of Dr Morris.

“I don't know whether to commend the minister for the energy and dedication which she has clearly put behind ensuring that on Monday, we will have much to celebrate. So, I am looking forward to the outcome with great anticipation,” she said.

Senator Morris noted that Jamaica was the first nation to sign the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities in 2007, while he was the minister of state in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. He is also a former president of the Senate and was made a senior lecturer at the University of the West Indies (UWI), recently.

“So, tremendous efforts are being made to make sure that Jamaica has a seat on this very important and high level committee,” Senator Morris told the Senate.

Balford Henry

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