Central bank Governor Lawrence Williams was laid to rest yesterday in the Cane Grove Methodist Church yard after a funeral service at the St George’s Cathedral.
Williams, 60, died at the Dr Balwant Singh Hospital on May 7. He had been battling with cancer for the past eight years.
He had served the Bank of Guyana for 35 years, starting as an Assistant Principal in the Exchange Control Department in 1979 after completing a Bachelors of Social Sciences Degree in Management.
In 1982, he was appointed as a Principal where he was tasked with the accounting and investment function of the bank’s Export Development Fund. Two years later, he was made Supervisor of the fund, and in 1991, he was promoted to Senior Supervisor of the Ex-change Control Depart-ment.
Williams continued to rise through the ranks to Assistant Head of the Debt Management and Ex-change Control Depart-ment, Director of the Operations Department and then Banking Manager.
Throughout these years, Williams collected intimate knowledge and experience of the bank’s operations, and thereby became proficient as he executed the responsibilities he was tasked with. In 2005, he was appointed Governor of the bank.
At the funeral service yesterday hundreds of people gathered to pay their last respects, including President Donald Ramotar, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh, and members of the opposition and of the committee of Caricom Central Bank Governors.
Deputy Governor of the central bank Dr Gobind Ganga while paying tribute to Williams, stated that he had served with great distinction and integrity throughout the years. “The Bank of Guyana will dearly miss you,” he said.
Deputy Chairman of the Caricom Central Bank Governors and Governor of the Central Bank of Trinidad Jwala Rambarran paid Williams had a valuable and pragmatic approach to facing economic and fiscal problems and has left a “legacy that will never die.
“This was a true central banker and his departure will not be forgotten,” he said as he offered condolences to Williams’s family in their “time of darkness.”
Williams’s friend Dr Gabriel Lall, who helped him through his time fighting cancer, said he always admired Williams’s zeal for his work even when he was ailing. “I can’t tell you how he died, but I can tell you how he lived. This is a celebration of a life well lived,” he said. He recalled watching Williams working every day with the cancer: he would go his office on Friday afternoons for treatment and recover over the weekend before another week started.
Minister Singh also reminisced on working closely with him for two decades, noting that Williams had distinguished himself as a strong human being. “I was privileged to have him as a colleague and a friend,” he said.
Williams’s daughter Lauren broke down in tears after speaking about her father. “You have lost an irreplaceable leader. A man of integrity, principles and someone who genuinely cared about this country. He was my best friend, my confidante. I will missing gossiping with him about my siblings,” she said. “My dad was a true country boy and he never lost track of his humble beginnings.”
Addressing her father’s coffin she said: “I’m proud that you are my dad and the greatest man I ever knew. There are no more tears rolling down your cheeks, no more pain. I know you are not going to be there to walk me down the aisle but when that time comes I know you will be by my side with your infectious smile,” she emoted. “I salute you! Well done! Well done, well done,” she said, before succumbing to tears.
Williams leaves to mourn his wife Valerie and his three children: Rhonda, Lauren and Gavin.