Should a blind man be named Senate President?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

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On Friday, the Government named Floyd Morris as the new president of the Senate. Morris, however, is visually impaired which raises questions regarding his capability to handle the task. The Sunday Observer went to the waterfront in downtown Kingston to get responses from members of the public on his appointment:


Raymond Binnie


"I don't think he should be barred from the position because he is blind. I once knew a very competent office manager who is blind so I don't have a problem with it. But he would obviously need a good assistant."


Christine Rochester


"I personally don't believe anything is wrong with that. Everybody must be given a chance once they are competent and once they are educated enough to make certain decisions. So being blind does not deter him from doing his job. Most times persons who have a disability overcompensate with other things to make sure that they are doing the right thing. Invariably, he will need more support in terms of getting his job done, but once he is capable in other ways to do the job then I don't see a problem."


Paul Cobourne


"He has struck me as somebody who knows what he is about and I don't believe that because he is visually impaired it should prevent him from holding certain positions once he has demonstrated competence. Like all documents that he has read, either through Braille or some other method, I don't think that should be an impediment.


Wayne Guthrie


"I have no problem with it. He has functioned fairly well to this point and if they see him as the best man for the job I don't see why he can't do it. With everything it's not necessarily about the individual, but the team around you. So I am sure that if he has good persons who he can trust around him who can present him with the facts, then he will be allright."


Carrol Corrodus


"Being blind does not affect your ability to think. He is capable, he is able, and not being able to see does not affect how he performs his job. He can get the documents in Braille or somebody who he trusts, an assistant, can read them to him. So as far as I am concerned, being visually impaired does not affect him doing his job one way or another."


Frederick Barriffe


"I think it is a wise move. It is an historical move. Being a visually impaired person I think it will open up more avenues for other persons, maybe not in the Senate but in other departments of Government. I think it will help other persons, assist in passing other laws to help them (visually impaired persons). Based on how he has performed so good before, I don't think that it will affect his performance. So I am in full support of him.


Garfield Miller


"I don't mind, because I don't think that him being impaired will negatively impact his performance. I think qualification in terms of his experiences will go beyond his impairment, so I think it is a good thing. I don't think it can hurt. I think that like other persons who work in the government and the civil services, as long as he has other persons to support him he will be able to do a good job.


Cordel Orlebar


"Well, I don't want to be biased in any way but the mere fact that this person has a disability, it actually will have something to do about it. But, check it out, does his disability actually stop him from doing his job? Because if not, then I don't see any reason why. As long as a set criteria are there outlining his job, and of course there is, then I don't see a problem with it. As long as he passed the set criteria then I don't see why not."


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