Barbadian business magnate Sir Charles Williams was described as “a giant of a man” in tributes paid by family, friends and Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley during his funeral service on Monday.
At the St James Parish Church where the former business icon, philanthropist and sportsman worshipped, there was an intimate gathering of family, friends and close business associates, who heard Sir Charles’ brother Ralph “Bizzy” Williams remember him as a man who “loved life and lived it to the fullest”.
In the emotional tribute, in which he frequently paused, holding back tears, Williams gave an insight into the family in which he, Sir Charles and seven other siblings grew up.
He also shared snippets of the bond between him and his older brother with whom he later became a business partner.
Close to tears, Williams said: “As my brother won contracts and started business across the Caribbean, going non-stop as he always did, he always took us along with him . . . so our Williams Industries got work and when our teams won contracts and did developments, his companies got work. We never competed against each other in business or in sport . . . . Ours was a relationship based on unconditional love for our families and our country Barbados.”
Sir Richard Cheltenham, one of Sir Charles’ close friends and business associates, spoke about “Sir Charles the Man and what propelled him”.
He also reflected on Sir Charles’ “vibrant personality . . . brutal honesty . . . restless and hardworking” approach to work.
Given the COVID-19 restrictions currently in place for funeral gatherings, Sir Kyffin Simpson was among the few prominent business associates in attendance, while 1 000 people from Barbados, the Caribbean and other parts of the world followed the live-streamed service conducted by the Reverend Beverley Sealy-Knight.
Sir Charles’ widow Mary-Ann Lady Williams, his sons Teddy and Stephen and daughter Charmaine were visibly moved by the touching musical renditions by Mahalia Cummins and John Yarde. There were also nods of approval around the sanctuary for the tribute paid by Mottley in a video recording played at the end of the service.
Sir Charles passed away on November 19 at Bayview Hospital, just five days shy of his 89th birthday. (GC)