[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Governor of the Bank of Guyana, Lawrence Williams was laid to rest on Saturday (May 17). Williams passed away on May 7 after he lost the fight to cancer. He was appointed the Governor of the Central Bank in 2005.
Mr. Williams took to the Governor’s Office over 25 years of diverse cumulative Central Banking experience.
In 1979, just after successfully completing the Bachelors of Social Sciences Degree (Management) he joined the staff of the Bank as an Assistant Principal in the Exchange Control Department where he held major responsibility for implementing and maintaining the system for monitoring exports and collection of export receipts.
Subsequently, in 1982 he was appointed as a Principal, at which level he undertook the accounting and investment function of the Export Development Fund.
In January 1984 Mr. Williams was appointed Supervisor, Export Development Fund. His duties included day to day management of the World Bank funded project which provided the foreign currency financing for non-traditional exporters to meet the cost of imported input of raw materials, capital and intermediate goods.
During the six years that Mr. Williams served as Supervisor he acquired considerable experience in foreign exchange management and investments.
Tribute to the late Lawrence Theodore Williams CCH
by the Honourable Dr. Ashni K. Singh, M.P., Minister of Finance
on behalf of the Government of Guyana
We meet to celebrate the life and mourn the passing of Lawrence Theodore Williams, late Governor of the Bank of Guyana, respected member of the regional and global community of central bankers, dedicated son and servant of Guyana, and cherished friend to all who knew him, without exception.
As has already been said and is widely known, Lawrence Williams served as Governor of the Bank of Guyana since 2005, making him the second longest serving Governor in that institution’s history. His total service to the Bank amounted to thirty-five years, having been first recruited by the Bank in 1979, immediately after he graduated from the University of Guyana, and placing him amongst the Bank’s longest serving employees of the current generation.
That Lawrence Williams would remain dedicated to his first place of employ throughout the years, that he would display capability and competence to the satisfaction of his successive supervisors, that he would earn steady and uninterrupted advances in seniority of appointment, that he would have the endurance to ascend to the pinnacle of the profession and institution he chose to serve,should all be no surprise to those of us who would have come to know him over these years. These were the qualities that distinguished his professional life from its earliest days and throughout thereafter: ability, loyalty, focus, patience, endurance, and discipline.
I have no doubt that every single person who would have come into contact with Lawrence Williams at work would have been deeply impressed by and imbued with admiration of his quiet but immeasurable competence. Small wonder then, that he earned appointment by then President BharratJagdeo in 2005 as the head of the Bank of Guyana. Indeed, it was also President Jagdeo would later in 2011 award Lawrence one of Guyana’s highest national awards, the Cacique Crown of Honour, for distinguished service to the financial sector and to central banking functions in particular. The granting of this recognition signaled official national acknowledgement of his considerable accomplishments in and lasting national contribution to his chosen field of professional endeavour.
I have had myself the privilege of a working association with Lawrence of two decades, dating back to long before both his accession to the Governorship and my own appointment as Minister. It was, however, during his Governorship and my current appointment that we most closely collaborated, and it was indeed a very close collaboration, and one from which I benefited and learnt much.
From the onset of and throughout his Governorship, Lawrence Williams threw his efforts behind the achievement of efficacious monetary policy objectives andensuring the strength and stability of our financial system. During his tenure, much was achieved in this regard. The enhanced capability of the Bank of Guyana to discharge its statutory responsibilities in regulating and supervising the financial sector, the implementation of legislation enacted to extend the Bank’s regulatory perimeter to include the building society and insurance subsectors, the progress made to date in achieving an orderly resolution of our own domestic instalment of the Caribbean Region’s Clicodebacle, the introduction of supervision in the money transfer subsector, the establishment of a credit reporting industry to improve efficiency in the retail market for credit, all point to major accomplishments recorded during Lawrence Williams’s time in office. On each of these, I have had the privilege of observing his workat very close range, and have invariably been deeply impressed by his diligence and dedication to task.
Lawrence participated in, and on occasion led, Guyana’s delegation to a number of important international fora and negotiations over the years. Most recently, just in July last year, at my request, he headed the technical team negotiating on Guyana’s behalf with the Government of Bulgaria, leading to us being able to conclude a debt relief agreement under which that country granted Guyana significant relief on a long accumulated indebtedness. The conclusion of that agreement marked a signal achievement, not only because of the age and value of the indebtedness now written off, but also because of the inherent challenges in obtaining from a non-Paris Club creditor debt relief terms equal or comparable to those granted by members of the Paris Club. His knowledge of and attention to detail, his patience and perseverance, his disarming personality even, all lent themselves extremely well to this kind of assignment.
But apart from the outstanding accomplishments at work, it was Lawrence Williams’s personality that won him the greatest admiration by all. As I have said on more than one occasion over the past week, his unflappable calm and composure know no equal. The mildness of his demeanour and amiability of his disposition could diffuse the most testing of situations. The limitlessness of his courage and the accompanying dignity of his carriage made him tower above both his peers and the frailties of the human condition. Whether it be attributed to the Cane Grove upbringing or the strong Guyanese family that always surrounded and supported him, Lawrence Williams distinguished himself as a strong human being, a fine gentlemen, and an outstanding professional.
I consider myself greatly privileged to have had him as a friend and a colleague. I will miss his reassuring presence and his sage counsel for a very long time to come. Guyana is as richer for the time he spent with us as we are poorer on his passing.
As I say farewell to my friend and colleague, the task is also mine to convey to Mrs. Valerie Williams and the rest of his immediate and extended family, sincerest condolences on behalf of President Donald Ramotar, the entire Cabinet and the Government of Guyana, and indeed all the people of Guyana on the passing of this outstanding and cherished son of our country.
May his soul rest in peace and rise in glory.