Wed | Jun 28, 2017

Joshua's battle - No arms, no legs but still dreaming of a productive life

Published:Sunday | August 24, 2014 | 8:00 AM
Joshua Brown is flanked by his partner Shernette Jones and son Tafari Brown in this 2013 file photo. - File

Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator

Life has been very rough for 44-year-old Joshua Brown since he lost his arms and legs in a motor vehicle accident in October 2009, but he is not giving up on his dream of becoming a successful businessman.

"All I want is just a location where I can start an automotive business," said Brown, as he disclosed that he has the tools and equipment to start.

Brown told The Sunday Gleaner that he was tired of begging on the streets and depending on people for support.

Last week, Brown wrote to Mayor of Kingston Angela Brown Burke seeking her help to find a location to start his business.

In the letter, Brown disclosed that some time ago he met with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller who advised him to try and locate a piece of government land that would suit his request.

"It is so difficult to find government-owned land. This is the reason for connecting and writing to you," he stated in his letter to the mayor.

Brown informed Brown Burke that: "If I get a place to set up my automotive business it will help life so I can make a living. I have the equipment, machine and tools to do this business."

Brown, who worked as an auto body repairman and duco man up to the time of the accident, said he still has his knowledge and expertise in the trade. He said he had a team including his 26-year-old son ready and willing to work with him.

Brown said he would supervise and teach his employees.

"Once the business gets started I would hire some disabled persons so they can have confidence that they can do things to help themselves," he said.

The father of three children - ages 26, 16, and nine - was quick to point out that despite his physical condition his mind "is not disabled".

MOTIVATING THE DISABLED

He said one of the reasons he was so anxious to start his business is to motivate disabled persons. He said that since he has been on the street begging, he met many people and when he told them of his plans they assured him that they would support him.

One of Brown's supporters is Queen's Counsel K. Churchill Neita, who said he met Brown some time ago at a traffic light below King's House.

Neita said he spoke with Brown, who outlined his business plans.

The attorney was instrumental in getting supporters to assist him to purchase a power wash machine for $150,000 so Brown can also start a car wash business.

According to Brown, Mark Austin of Caribbean Broilers also provided some of the equipment to start the business.

"My school has produced many great and influential men and I believe I can be one of them," boasted Brown, who is a past student of Jamaica College.

OPTIMISTIC

He is optimistic that once he gets the location to start his business, it will be successful and he will be able to make a contribution to his country.

"I just want to be an independent man as I used to be before the accident," he stressed.

On the day of the accident, Brown was on his way from St Ann when, on reaching near Faith's Pen, a motor vehicle owned by a company collided with the motor car in which he was travelling.

He was taken to hospital where his legs and arms had to be amputated. Brown said the motor vehicle that caused the accident was not insured as the insurance expired two days before the accident.

He has filed a suit seeking damages but complained that the case is taking quite a long time to be heard.

Brown noted that The Gleaner had set up a website seeking assistance for him and he has since received some artificial legs from donors in Georgia, United States.

He said he was practising to use them but the training took time for him to get adjusted to them as they are not electronically operated.

Brown recently received an artificial right arm which he is using, but he said he was now awaiting the other arm.

The promising businessmen lives in east Kingston and travels in a wheelchair, but said that at all times, "I have to get a chauffeur to take me around in the wheelchair".

When Brown is going anywhere beyond six miles from home, he says he hires a taxi to transport him.

"I am not giving up on life because I have my family to care for," Brown emphasised.