KINGSTON, Jamaica - The late R Danvers “Danny” Williams was hailed as a nation-builder and visionary by members of the Upper House during its sitting at Gordon House on September 29.
The former businessman, philanthropist, senator and Cabinet minister, passed away at the age of 89 recently.
Leading the tributes, Deputy President of the Senate, Charles Sinclair, described Williams as a true nation-builder, noting that his humility and unwavering devotion to Jamaica will always be remembered.
He said Williams’ drive and entrepreneurial spirit led him to become a giant in the insurance industry as the founder and president of Life of Jamaica, now Sagicor Life.
“However, Danny Williams was drawn to give service in the parliamentary arena as well and he served in this Honourable Senate from 1977 to 1980. During his tenure as a senator, he served as parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Minister of Marketing and Commerce and Minister of Industry and Commerce,” he said.
Sinclair extended heartfelt condolences to his widow, children, grandchildren and other relatives and friends.
“May you find comfort in knowing that his memory will forever be etched in our hearts and his life will inspire generations to come,” he said.
Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate, Peter Bunting, said the visionary leader distinguished himself through his philanthropy and mentorship.
Government Senator, Don Wehby, said Williams dedicated his life to make Jamaica a better place.
“He was a true Jamaican icon, visionary leader and a nation-builder… . Danny always thinks positive, never sees the glass half-empty but always half-full. He was the greatest salesman, the greatest fund-raiser I have ever seen… . It was always a good cause, whether it was Jamaica College or some young lady in New Castle Hill that couldn't afford lunch, he was always caring for the poor of Jamaica,” he shared.
He said Williams’ perspective of him being invited to join the Cabinet from the private sector in 2007 by former Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, calmed the debate surrounding the move.
“Danny Williams, as you know represented the People’s National Party in the ‘70s, came out and supported my move and said Jamaica needs more people like Don Wehby to contribute to nation-building and his voice was so powerful on both sides that the debate calmed right down after Danny made that comment. He will truly be missed,” he said.
Senator Wehby argued that Williams’ legacy will continue to inspire generations to come. “That is how significant his contribution to nation-building and the private sector was,” he said.
Williams was awarded the Order of Distinction (Commander Class) in 1972 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the nation and Order of Jamaica in 1993 for his voluntary service to the community.