December 9, 2020

Visually Impaired Adventist Senator Elected to United Nations Committee

Nigel Coke, Inter-American Division News

Floyd Morris, a member of the Andrews Memorial Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica, was elected a member of the United Nations Committee for Persons with Disabilities. The election took place on November 30, 2020.

Morris, who is visually impaired, is the first Jamaican to be elected to the committee, which is a body of independent experts who monitor the implementation of the Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the states and countries that are signatories. He was among nine persons elected to the committee to replace those whose terms are due to expire on December 31, 2020.

The Committee for Persons with Disabilities is composed of 18 independent experts, according to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner, which indicates that each member must be a person of high moral character and recognized competence in the field of human rights.

“I am extremely elated at my election to this high-level committee at the United Nations,” Morris said. “This is what one receives when you put your faith and trust in God, as He promised that when we put our faith and trust in Him, He will lead and direct our path.”

In 2017, Morris received a Ph.D. from the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. He is a member of the Jamaican Senate, Caribbean Community (Caricom) Special Rapporteur on Disability, and a lecturer and director of the Centre for Disability Studies at the University of the West Indies.

“Senator Morris has been a national asset to the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the nation at large,” Everett Brown, president of the Adventist Church in Jamaica, said. “He has been a trailblazer for the disabilities community in Jamaica. His passion for the rights and wellbeing of persons with disabilities is without question, and he is the ideal person to represent the interest of those persons globally. Our prayers are with him as he advocates on behalf of the disabilities community.”

Morris is well known in Jamaica for his fight for the disabled community and a source of inspiration for attaining a high level of success, despite being blind from his teenage years and coming from a humble beginning in a rural farming district in eastern Jamaica. He has been credited with the passing of several bills and programs that still positively impact the disabled community.

The 51-year-old senator made history in Jamaica’s Parliament when he became the first visually impaired person to be appointed president of the Jamaican Senate in May 2013.

He was a special guest of the Adventist world church’s General Conference at its 60th Session in San Antonio, Texas, United States, where he was recognized by the church for his life of courage, service to his country, and faithfulness.

In commending Senator Morris then, Adventist Church president Ted Wilson described him as a “modern-day Joseph,” whom the Lord has given an unusual opportunity to witness in many ways. Wilson described him as someone who “represents Jesus and His precious church in arenas and areas that most of us do not have a daily connection.”

At a special luncheon for Adventists in Public Affairs on Thursday, July 9, 2015, Morris was elected president of an international association of Seventh-day Adventists who hold a position in the public, civic, or government arenas in their country.

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site.