Contributions of the Late Robert Williams1447 02 Aug, 2012
Mr. Nagamootoo: Mr Speaker, I rise on behalf of the Alliance for Change to support the motion in the name of the Hon. Member, Basil Williams and to endorse his remarks regarding the contributions of the late Robert Williams to the national life of Guyana.
I have been privileged to know Mr. Robert Williams almost from the age when both of us perhaps were in short pants and without pants, because we came from very humbled origins from the Corentyne. He, as I grew up to know him, the son of Aunty Ellen, we frequented that shop, we lived just a village or so apart and when I said no pants, I literally meant that. My parents had fishing boats and Mr. Robert Williams would be one of those, when we were just toddlers, who would go out to the mud shore. It was our duty after the fish was dragged from the Manchester water side to the Manchester Public Road, to haul the canoes up and we would be washing the boats of the slime from the karass and other types of fish. Mr. Robert Williams did that regularly and that was how he was able to supplement the income of his parents. I never met or probably knew his father, but my old man always called Mr. Robert Williams, Cockspur’s boy. He died and probably he never explained who “Mr. Cockspur” was, but I did see the name ‘Cockspur’ in my father’s handwriting, his memoir of him being a friend. There was a commonality of relationships between the Nagamootoos and the Williams, particularly a relationship with Aunty Ellen and indeed she had produced a remarkable son from the Corentyne.
I remember the pride with which we all held Mr. Robert Williams when he joined the Guyana Police Force. I had tried before to join the Guyana Police Force on several occasions and was denied admission for one reason or the other ... [Interruption] [Mr. Speaker: Was it height?] Well I do not know, I did the written test, but probably Mr. Robert Williams, being a fair person both literally and figuratively, I think he had the nod ahead of me, he was far more handsome than me He was the pride of our community when he received accelerated promotions. I believe he skipped the Sergeants’ position because he was sent into the interior and I understand his conduct was exemplary as a police officer.
Also from that area we were all also very happy when our dear friend Clarence Profit, in fact, myself, Robert, Clarence and I believe one of the Da Silva’s son – he became a Minister later on and a veterinary doctor – were all from the same catchment area and knew each other well.
Mr. Robert Williams’ entry into politics was a surprise, because when I grew up with him I had never had an inclination that that was where he would have wanted to be. I thought that he was more inclined to becoming a professional policeman all the way up and perhaps he would have made his way all the way up.
We are associated with this motion not on the basis that I knew the late Robert Williams and his family and his many sisters and we all embraced each other as family, but particularly when he was in the political arena. At a time when it was difficult for us to communicate at an organisational level, I had found it very convenient that I could have spoken in some difficult situations with the late Robert Williams and when he migrated politically he also became “An Allied”, I do not mean to say that Mr. Basil Williams never was, but maybe he did not try it hard enough. Mr. Wiliams was indeed a political allied on many issues and later as it was to happen, when I was Minister of Local Government, he and I forged a very constructive relationship on several projects, more particularly the Solid Waster Project with which he cooperated fully in volunteering members of his staff to be trained as prosecutors for solid waste violations and helping to improve the law that was extent.
I wish to convey on behalf of the Alliance for Change and on my own behalf and of that of the Nagamootoo Family from Whim, our deepest regret at the death of the late Robert Williams and we join with this motion to direct sympathies to his wife, Gwen, and to his children and other relatives.
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