I am saddened by the passing of my very good friend John E. D. Williams.
We first met in 1961 at the Cable and Wireless training college at Porthcurno at Land’s End, Cornwall which is located at the far western tip of South West England. We were both in technical telecommunications training at the famous PK institution.
John was a quiet Christian lad who always wore a small felt hat. I was on the advanced course and he, having just joined the company, was on the basic course. We both later returned to Barbados and assumed positions in the rapidly expanding international telecoms operations. John was one of the many hardworking technicians who contributed to the maintenance and operations of the vital infrastructure in Barbados.
Outside of his technical work, John quickly got involved in trade union matters. All Cable and Wireless employees were members of the Barbados Workers’ Union and John soon became a shop steward. I recall The Right Excellent Sir Frank Walcott meeting in the new Wildey building with a small group of technical staff. John and Sir Frank got into an extended heated argument on some issue. I remain amazed at how little John stood up to the great Frank Walcott as he was at that time.
John went on to complete first and second degrees at the UWI Cave Hill campus and developed a specialisation in Human Resources Management. He, therefore, moved from technical duties into personnel management in what became Barbados External Telecommunications (BET).
During my brief contact with John on the phone less than a week ago, I thanked him for his contribution to C&W and to BET, and in particular, for the way he supported me during the period of my leadership at BET between 1987 and 1992. I also thanked him for the support he gave to the late Prime Minister Owen Arthur and to the current Prime Minister Mia Mottley, thereby making a significant contribution to public service in Barbados.
I therefore now offer my condolences to John’s family, especially to his dear wife Celia who was also a member of the Cable and Wireless family.
May he rest in peace.
C. Trevor Clarke
Former Cable and Wireless Barbados Chief Executive