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'By Faith, Not by Sight'

GG, four former PMs hail blind senator, Dr Floyd Morris, at autobiography launch

BY DESMOND ALLEN
Executive editor –special assignment
allend@jamaicaobserver

Thursday, November 09, 2017



THE current and former governors general and four former prime ministers turned out Tuesday to support Jamaica's first blind senator, Dr Floyd Morris, at the launch of his autobiography at The University of the West Indies (UWI) Regional Headquarters building, Mona, St Andrew.

Like the rest of the packed auditorium, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen and his predecessor, Professor Sir Kenneth Hall, as well as former prime ministers Portia Simpson Miller, Edward Seaga, P J Patterson and Bruce Golding, were obviously enthralled by the touching story of Morris' life.

Gary Allen, the Radio Jamaica boss; media icon Fae Ellington, emcee and Morris himself fought strenuously to retain their composure, at times giving way to quiet tears, as the author's life, extensively told in graphic detail in the autobiography titled “By Sight, Not by Faith”, was captured on video and through anecdotes.

But the occasion was filled with happy moments and mirth; for example, when Patterson, giving the keynote address, said he had been hesitant to participate in the launch, given that Morris, despite his disability, was able to complete his doctorate and autobiography, while “other persons (read P J Patterson) have only been promising to do theirs for 10 years now”.

Patterson was in his ackee but ran into hot waters with the very partisan and raucous former Taylorites present to support their fellow, Morris, when he said the author was truly an extraordinary man to have accomplished so much with a disability “further compounded by the handicap of being a Taylorite”.

Governor General Sir Patrick — who shares the Seventh-day Adventist faith with Morris — in declaring the book officially launched, said the occasion was a celebration of triumph over adversity and of the power of faith.

Gary Allen, who was mentioned in the book for assisting Morris with money to pay exam fees, spoke at the launch, noting that he had been a friend of the author for over 30 years. “You have lost your sight, but your vision is tremendous,” he told his former St Mary High schoolmate.

Professor Hopeton Dunn, also described in the autobiography as indispensable to Morris as his supervisor at the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication, UWI, commended his former student for his “great deal of versatility, perseverance and focus”.

Latoya West-Blackwood, CEO of ImagiNation, publishers of the autobiography, said she was delighted to start her book-publishing career, after 12 years in the industry, with such a fascinating story as told in By Faith, Not by Sight.

The book can be found at Bookophelia and at The UWI library, Mona. It will later be accessible through most of the bookstores in Jamaica, along with an audio version.

Entertainment was provided by Isabel Blagrove, a visually impaired singer who performs on buses in Clarendon for a living. Morris drew attention to that fact he has called on both political parties to do everything in their power to declare Labour Day 2018 as a day to ensure that at least one high and one primary school in each constituency placed more emphasis on disabled students.

Among those also attending were: Morris' wife Shelley-Ann and mother Jemita Pryce; president of the Senate Tom Tavares-Finson, who represented Prime Minister Andrew Holness; Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton; UWI Principal Professor Archibald McDonald, who gave the welcome; Pro-Vice Chancellor Dr Richard Bernal; Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn; K D Knight; Aloun Assamba; Dr Omar Davies; Carla Seaga, and Dr Leith Dunn.

Also in attendance were: SDA President Everett Brown, Pastor Meric Walker, Robert Pickersgill, A J Nicholson, Sarah Newland, Arnoldo Brown, Richard Azan, Phillip Paulwell, Fitz Jackson, Mark Golding, Anthony Hylton, Alma Mock Yen, Emily Crooks-Shields, Leighton McKnight, Ambassador Eleanor Felix, Delano Franklin, Michael Sharpe, Nigel Coke, Professor Marlene Hamilton, Dr Carl Bruce, David Salmon and Kevita Johnson.

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