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Tribute to Mr Leonard ‘Doc’ Williams – R. T. Luke V. Browne

Tribute to Mr Leonard ‘Doc’ Williams – R. T. Luke V. Browne

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Fri Dec 27, 2013

Good afternoon, brothers and sisters. It is regrettable that we had to meet in these circumstances. It is very sad indeed that we are here today to mourn the loss of a fallen comrade. We would have preferred to see Doc either at his home or on Miss Ade’s porch in Rockies; or at his favourite recent liming spot in Kingstown near the old Ju-C Building; or at a worksite somewhere; or at a ULP National Council Meeting or Convention; or at church; or almost anywhere else.

But we are here. I had to cut short a trip to Grenada for a high-level meeting, so that I could come to pay my last respects to Doc, to offer this tribute to him and to celebrate his life. He was a longstanding family friend; he was my political supporter, advisor and defender; and he was, of course, an outstanding professional contractor.

The connection between our families goes way back, to over forty years ago, when my father, as a young man with interest in photography, received lessons on taking pictures from Doc. Doc was at that time an expert photographer at the Richardson Photo Studio. Doc’s loving wife, Sister Elaine, made my uniform for a Christmas programme at the Streams of Power Church when I was a child. I participated in Christmas programmes alongside the couple’s very talented children, including Roxanne, who is a songbird.

Doc encouraged me to get involved in politics. I met him outside the Court- House yard one morning after my name had surfaced as a potential candidate for East Kingstown. He told me to “go for it” because he thinks I have what it takes. He also said that he will be there for me through thick and thin, and he kept his word. Doc resolutely defended me and supported me at difficult moments of my political career. He never left me hanging.{{more}}

The old veteran in the army taught me some vital political lessons. I often drew on his wisdom and vast experience. He made it abundantly clear that it was foolhardy to go to war without sufficient ammunition. He stressed the importance of foot soldiers, and generally gave sound advice, good suggestions and invaluable tips. I vowed to him that I will work hard to put East Kingstown on the map.

Doc suffered adverse business consequences because of his loyalty to, and open support for the Unity Labour Party during the life of the NDP regime, but he was never deterred. He fought valiantly and fearlessly, and ultimately successfully, for the change he felt the country needed. He took all the adversity in stride until he was able to taste the sweet fruits of victory in 2001. Mr Williams toiled in the vineyard for many years as a member of his party’s East Kingstown Constituency Council. Doc was a frank, no-nonsense council member who did not like time-wasting, protracted discussions or indecisiveness. He listened attentively, but you also had to listen to him. He spoke with conviction and was not afraid to express his views forcefully, if necessary, on any subject. He supported East Kingstown fund-raising events and contributed in no small way to the Party’s fortunes.

Doc was an excellent community man. The world rejoiced when his company was awarded a contract, because something was in it for everyone. He wasn’t simply the breadwinner of his household; he was more or less the breadwinner of the village. He worked hard to make sure that everyone around him had food, building material, uniforms and books. He provided any required assistance that was within his means. Doc told me on Miss Ade’s porch in June that he was planning to put back on the Christmas Party and Barbecue which he introduced to Rockies several years ago. That wasn’t to be.

There were never any complaints about the quality of Doc’s work as a professional contractor. Doc faced and solved complex construction problems without fuss or bother. The government turned to him when there were challenging jobs which required special expertise. He rebuilt the mammoth Jack’s wall after it collapsed and claimed a life and thereby helped the nation to recover from a very tragic episode.

Doc suffered his fair share of health woes, but never complained. He didn’t even allow the amputation of part of his right foot to get in his way. Let me say parenthetically that diabetes is like a plague which needs to be curbed. Doc adjusted to the situation and literally got back on his feet. Mr Williams just completed some repair work on a road in Glen which was damaged in such a way that residents were cut off from their homes, and he was preparing to carry out other major work on the Leeward side of St Vincent to rectify lingering Gibson Corner problems when he was called to his eternal home.

His death hit me like a bolt from the blue, but thankfully I have memories that Mr Death cannot take away. I will cherish these memories of Doc. He has been good to me and has had a profound impact on my life. I am happy that he at least lived to see me enter Parliament as a Senator. He heard me make my maiden speech. One day, by God’s grace, his dream of me becoming the elected representative of East Kingstown will come true.

On behalf of my family, the ULP East Kingstown Constituency Council, the residents of East Kingstown, and the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines, I express my profound sympathy to all Doc’s relatives and friends. Your loss is our loss. Leonard Williams has literally left his mark on our lives and on the landscape of St Vincent and the Grenadines. He is irreplaceable. Thanks for everything Doc. Really and truly, you are not dead. Your thoughts would continue to guide my actions. Our victory in the next general elections would be for you. Rest in Peace.

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