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The Greatest G-G that never was

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This week two Vincentian public servants are being laid to rest while their families mourn. Both have been pubic servants, but died in very different circumstances.

Henry Harvey Williams was described by his friend, the distinguished Vincentian Sir Fred Phillips as “the greatest Governor General that never was” and few would ever doubt that epithet. {{more}}

Henry Williams will always be remembered by ordinary everyday people, many of whom never even came very close to him physically, but who nevertheless were touched by his greatness, his humility and gentle character. He will always be remembered too for his patriotism when, in 1979, he joined with much younger Vincentian patriots of what was then the Vincentian left, in the National Independence Committee to submit proposals for a new constitution for the emerging independent St. Vincent and the Grenadines. These proposals were never looked upon favourably by the government of the day.

Williams was to come to prominence once again when, after the New Democratic Party of Sir James Mitchell won all 15 seats in the 1989 elections, he recommended that independent senators be appointed. History shows that his advice was never followed.

He was never appointed to the position of Governor General, a position for which he would have been a people’s choice but perhaps never the choice of politicians. He remained up till he retired from public view a man very admired and respected by Vincentians.

Much is said about his contribution to the country as a public servant and much more will be said, the true story of Henry Williams the man is still to be documented for future generations. May he rest in peace.

In contrast to this public servant’s peaceful passing, this week another Vincentian family mourns the loss of another public servant. And the contrast tells a story about our changing society. This other servant, Elson Richardson, was a police constable who was found murdered on the weekend.

The story being told is that our society has become so much more dangerous that in the time of Henry Williams. The society that has now spawned those who murdered the police constable and burnt his vehicle is no longer a place that evokes ease. We must now become suspicious of strangers. A simple act of kindness such as offering a person a ride in a vehicle after dark is now considered dangerous.

This is a trend that we must arrest in honour of noblemen such as Henry Williams, and for our future generations.

Decent people must retake the initiative from the criminals.