Calder Williams, a former Leader of the Opposition in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), was laid to rest last Friday, April 29.
The burial at the Fitz Hughes cemetery, followed a funeral service at the New Testament Church of God in Chateaubelair.
Williams was born on April 14, 1953, and died on March 29, 2022, a mere two weeks before his 70th birthday.
One day before the funeral service and burial, Williams’ body was laid in state at the House of Assembly.
The body was also taken to the NDP headquarters for public viewing.
Delivering the eulogy at last Friday’s funeral service, former Member of Parliament for North Leeward, Roland “Patel” Matthews said “everyone will have their own view of Calder.”
“There was a Calder that you knew, one that I knew, and one that was known only to Calder himself.”
Williams who hails from the North Leeward town of Chateaubelair, came from a large family. He is survived by three sisters and one brother.
Matthews recalled that “Calder was big on education,” and he therefore encouraged his siblings and other family members to study, so that they can improve their educational status.
He recalled that Calder was from a “poor family” and he firmly believed that the way out of poverty is through education.
Matthews reflected that the young Calder was an “outstanding scholar” as a pupil of the Chateaubelair Government School.
Apart from his love for education, Calder Williams also had a passion for the game of cricket.
Matthews said that on the cricket field, Williams “was a force to be reckoned with, as a fast bowler.”
When he joined the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF), Williams later became part of the police cricket team.
Matthews said that the former politician was known then for his “fast pace and his ability to instil fear in opposing batsmen.”
He later played national cricket with the likes of Mike Findlay and others.
In the eulogy, Matthews also reflected that Williams later resigned from the RSVGPF, because he was not pleased with some of the things that were taking place within the organisation.
“He believed that he must get organised to bring about change.”
Consequently, “he and other like minded militant men from Chateaubelair, formed a group called the New Rescuers Movement.
According to Matthews, this group was formed in 1974 “to rescue the people of North Leeward from rural underdevelopment.”
He was focused on the underpaid workers at the then Richmond Estate and he rallied around them.
Williams, who was also a teacher and a farmer, was the first candidate for the Opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) to win a seat on mainland St Vincent.
He was only 26 years old in 1979, when then NDP Leader, Sir James Mitchell, deceased, went to North Leeward to launch his candidate for the party.
Matthews recalled that the people of North Leeward decided that Calder Williams was the best man for the job.
The people reportedly told Sir James, “no Calder, no key.”
Right there and then Calder Williams was chosen as the NDP’s candidate.
He was successful in the 1979 elections, and represented the people of North Leeward up to 1984.
As a farmer, Calder suffered a great loss, when 175 bunches of his young bananas were “deliberately chopped down.”
However, this did not stop him from being who he was.
Matthews said that Williams made use of “every opportunity he got, to raise his voice in defense of the people of North Leeward.”
Williams who was eulogised as a “private” person, also is survived by a daughter in the United States of America.
“Everything Calder did in his lifetime reflected his love for people,” Matthews stated.
Whether it was by being a police officer, teacher, cricketer, farmer, activist or politician, he said Williams remained a man of and for the people.
Matthews further described him as “a man with compassion.”
According to Matthews Calder Williams was “one of a kind and his shoes will be difficult or impossible to fill.”
The funeral service was attended by past and present members of government and the opposition, other dignitaries, relatives and friends.