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Let’s never forget: ‘Wilby’, A true leader of working people

Let’s never forget: ‘Wilby’, A true leader of working people


EDITOR: It takes years to build a solid reputation as a devoted leader of the movement of the working people. Usually those who are remembered over the passage of time are those who make it into the halls of political power or social acceptance. Very few of the genuine leaders of our working people are remembered even by those on whose behalf they fought and sacrificed. One year ago, one such leader, a humble, indefatigable fighter, a leader of both the farmers’ and workers’ movement, Bro. Wilberforce ‘Wilby’ Emmanuel passed away.

Bro. Wilby was a stalwart of the trade union movement, one of the building blocks of the Commercial Technical and Allied Workers Union (CTAWU), laying the foundation for its existence for almost six decades now. He was one of the key organisers of the historic “Kill the Bills” campaign in 1981 which put an end to government’s attempt to impose repressive legislation.

But perhaps his biggest contribution is as a leader of the local and regional farmers’ movement. He rose to become President of the National farmers’ Union and its regional expression, the Windward islands Farmers Association (WINFA). ‘Wilby’ was also a pioneer of the fair-trade movement, helping to rescue our banana industry after unfair international trade rules threatened to decimate the livelihood of thousands of small farmers in the Windward Islands.

We must forever honour his selfless contribution.

Renwick Rose