– Green leads tributes
FORMER Deputy Mayor and Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Georgetown City Council, Mr. Robert Williams died yesterday morning in the Caribbean Heart Institute (CHI) at Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH). He had been a patient there since December and his death was described, by Mayor Hamilton Green, as a great loss to the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) and the entire country.
He had a “phenomenal memory” and was his own “walking encyclopaedia of events” in the municipality, Green said, adding that the Council regrets Williams’ passing and looks forward to sharing the burden of his loss.
Speaking to the Guyana Chronicle, in his City Hall office, Green confirmed that Williams passed away about 08:00 hrs and said the last time he saw him alive was on Saturday night.
“We just lost him, according to the doctor,” Green said, adding that Williams will be missed for his support in dealing with Council matters. “He was somebody who supported me in most of my efforts at City Hall.”
Public Relations Officer at City Hall, Mr. Royston King expressed profound sadness on behalf of the entire Council.
He recalled that Williams served as Mayor from 1987 to 1989; Deputy Mayor from 1998 until the time of his death and on several important committees such as the City Works and the Public Health and Markets, as well.
King said Williams also played a significant role in the development of the New Vendors Mall, which now facilitates those sellers who once occupied pavements on Water Street.
King said Williams’ greatest contribution to local government was the conceptualisation and establishment of the Guyana Association of Municipalities. He said even when Williams was not well, he insisted on seeing people at his office and people likewise wanted to see him. He, sometimes, went out of his way to assist people.
“He was a man of the people. We might fill the position but we cannot replace him.”
Before entering the City Council, Williams, a former policeman, had been Minister of Fisheries as well as Chairman of the responsible corporation in the People’s National Congress (PNC) Government.
Meanwhile, Public Relations Officer of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Mr. Vishnu Persaud, in a press statement, said it was with great sadness that the body received the news about Commissioner Williams.
“The late Mr. Williams was a permanent Member of the Guyana Elections Commission, a position to which he was appointed since GECOM was established as a permanent entity in the year 2000.
“Commissioner Williams will be remembered for his insightful, open-minded and logical contributions during Commission meetings. His lucid and practical approach to the solutions of conundrums, which the Commission perpetually encounters, will be dearly missed.
“GECOM takes this opportunity to acknowledge that, notwithstanding his ailing health, Mr. Williams was never absent from any of the ever increasing meetings of the Commission in the run-up to the 2011 General and Regional Elections. Such was his level of commitment to and the seriousness with which he approached his responsibilities as a GECOM Commissioner,” the statement noted.
The Alliance For Change (AFC), also in a press statement, extended its deepest condolence to the family and relatives of Williams.
“Williams gave diligent service to the city of Georgetown; especially through trying times…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,” the AFC acknowledged.