September 22, 2014

Colleagues pay tribute to Deputy Mayor Williams

By Ariana Gordon

Deputy Mayor and former Fisheries Minister under the PNCR administration, Robert Williams died on Monday, January 30, following a month of hospitalisation at the Caribbean Heart Institute (CHI).

Deputy Mayor and former Fisheries Minister under the PNCR administration, Robert Williams

Williams, 62, who also served as city mayor from 1987 to 1989 and a commissioner of the Guyana Elections Commission until his death, was described by colleagues as “a man with much institutional knowledge”. He was on life support for most of his hospitalisation Guyana Times International was informed. The cause of his death is unknown.

He was hailed as a man of integrity, and a son of the soil who dedicated his life to serving the people of this country. City Mayor Hamilton Green said, “It is a great loss to the city and the council… he was a colleague of mine for many years and I have grown to rely on his experience.”

Green added that Williams had a wealth of knowledge about the inner workings of the municipality and for that he would be greatly missed. Acting in the position of deputy mayor, Patricia Chase-Green, who was moved to tears, said Williams was a leader and guide for all councillors.

“Robert has been the strength of this council for quite some time; he has been a leader and a guide for all councillors. City Hall, and the country as a whole has lost a great man, he has dedicated his life to the good of this country.” Chase-Green continued: “The institutional memory that Robert had is not with the young people today; he is not there to guide and teach us; we have lost a great person as a council. I hope the lessons he would have taught us throughout and all those he would have had dealings with, they will be able to carry it through.” She said.

GECOM saddened

PNCR Leader Robert Corbin

Meanwhile, Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairman Dr Steve Surujbally, in an invited comment, told this publication that the news of Williams’ passing has saddened the commission. “He will be remembered for his open-minded contributions, and well thought-out contributions. His lucid and practical approach to the solutions of conundra which the commission perpetually encounters will be dearly missed”, noting that he (Williams) had a “very jovial nature during commissioners’ meeting”.

What was most memorable, Dr Surujbally said, was Williams’ dedication to his work as a commissioner. “We have to recognised that in spite of his ailing health he was never absent from any of the ever increasing meetings of the commission… Such was his level of commitment.”

Williams, who served for well over a decade as a commissioner, was a permanent member of GECOM. He was appointed in 2000.

Similarly, former commissioner Vincent Alexander told GTI that Williams was considered the most senior commissioner in terms of those “nominated by the leader of the opposition”.

He said, “He has more institutional memory of events from 2001 to present, his absence would be a significant loss to us… that apart, he is someone who could always be relied upon in terms of paying attention to matters at GECOM.” Alexander added, “He has always made an effort to be present, including working long hours at GECOM, especially during the last elections, though he was ailing.”

Sad loss

Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Robert Corbin told this publication in a brief comment that Williams’ death represents a sad loss for the country.

“He has made a significant contribution to the party.” He noted that Williams’ was involved in the PNC since his younger days. He was part of the Youth Congress and was involved in many other areas. “He has been a committed patriot who was concerned with the quality of life of the people.”

The Alliance For Change also (AFC) extended its deepest condolences to the family and relatives of Williams, the Mayor and City Council and the Guyana Elections Commission. A release from the party said, “It is with deep regret that we learnt of his passing… Robert Williams gave diligent service to the city of Georgetown, especially through trying times, serving as deputy mayor, a position he held for over a decade and chairman of the municipality’s Finance Committee. His sterling contributions to the work of the Guyana Elections Commission where he served as a commissioner for many years will forever be remembered. His passing is a great loss to the city and to the entire Guyana.”