Owner of the HGP TV station, better known as Halagala, Terry Nelson-Fraser died on Monday afternoon at the Balwant Singh Hospital after suffering a massive heart attack.
His son Nial and wife Gloria to whom he has been married for 47 years were with him at the time of his death. Nelson-Fraser, who is also known as Omar Farouk, was a well known personality as he not only owned Channel 67 but his voice had been quite recognizable in a number of popular hits such as ‘Independence’, ‘Love on Saturday night’, ‘We welcome Independence to Guyana’ and ‘Dem seh’.
He hosted a number of programmes on his television station and did most of the voice-overs for advertisements on his station. His station, located in Beterver-wagting on the East Coast, was well known and he has been described as a community-minded person.
Nial yesterday told Stabroek News that he had taken his father to the Diamond Diagnostic Centre, East Bank Demerara to see the doctor as he was planning to travel to Cuba to have a prosthetic leg fitted after he lost one by amputation in 2007. The doctor told the 71-year-old that he was well enough to travel to Cuba and gave him some documents to take to the Cuban Embassy to secure a visa.
“He asked him if he was well enough and he said he seems good enough but maybe he should go and see his other doctors,” the son told Stabroek News.
The young man said he was pushing his father out of the doctor’s office in a wheel chair and they were discussing the upcoming trip to Cuba when he told him he was feeling a pain in his stomach.
He said he took his father to the car where his mother was and his father told his mother “Gloria, a feeling bad” and they assumed that it may have been gas discomfort so they got him something to drink. Nelson-Lewis was then placed in the car and while he wanted to use the toilet his son was bent on rushing him to another hospital for further medical attention.
“Before we reach Georgetown his condition deteriorated and he died about twenty minutes after being treated in the Intensive Care Unit of the Balwant Singh Hospital,” Nial said.
The father of six lived many years in London where he recorded most of his songs and he re-migrated to Guyana in 1970 and the television station became a reality in 1993. Three of his six children were born in England and except for Nial and Nyjel all of his other children live overseas.
According to Nial his father lost his leg after he developed an ulcer following the 2004-2005 Great Flood. He said his father traveled extensively in the flood-hit areas to highlight the plight of those who were suffering. His son said that the other leg also had an ulcer at the time of his death.
But even though he lost his leg Nelson-Fraser’s love for singing saw him still recording songs and late last year while he was in the US during the country’s elections he recorded ‘Nancy on the Hill’ as a tribute to US President Barack Obama.
Yesterday Nial described his father as the father of all fathers who was always there for his children. He said the man he called Dad was like a friend to them and “he was the best father ever that is all I can say. He and my Mom were always together… My Mom was like a shadow to him.”
He recalled that years ago his father manufactured curry and was the only person in Guyana to produce records under his Halagala Production Company.
And the PNCR in a press release said it is saddened by the death of Nelson-Fraser who they described as a longstanding supporter of the party.
“He supported the PNCR in season and out of season. The party tenders its sincere condolences to his wife and six children and his close friends and relatives,” the release said.
The party said that Nelson-Fraser composed his songs at a time when Guyana was trying to find a musical medium that was indigenous and reflective of Guyana’s own cultural development. The release noted that the man managed his television station with “insight and recognition of the cultural and political realities in Guyana.” In so doing, the party said, he made the station one of the better known and popular ones in Guyana.
Other than his wife and Nial and Nyjel, Nelson-Fraser has also left his other children, Terry Nelson-Fraser(Jr), Carol Felix, Gillian Fraser and Jacqueline Morris, 16 grandchildren and two great grandchildren to mourn his death.
He hailed from Belladum on the West Coast of Berbice and according to Nial he will be buried in that village.