By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
SOME Bahamians continued to mourn Obie Wilchcombe yesterday, including Bimini residents he represented for over 15 years.
George Weech, the former Bimini MP, expressed shock.
"We will miss Minister Wilchcombe dearly," he said. "He has been a dear friend to this community, and he was like a son to me."
Mr Wilchcombe, 64, was discovered unresponsive at his home in West Grand Bahama on Monday morning. Attempts to revive him failed, and he was pronounced dead at the Rand Memorial Hospital.
His death came after he appeared to be in good health and attended several public events in the past week.
As West End Grand Bahama and Bimini residents prepare for a by-election, Mr Weech said Mr Wilchcombe was an excellent MP who would not be easily replaced.
“Quite frankly, I am not interested in hearing about any by-election at this moment," Mr Weech said. "I am not interested in who has in mind to run or who intends to run until Minister Wilchcombe’s body is entered into its final resting place."
Kitty Saunders, chairwoman of the PLP's Bimini constituency association, said Mr Wilchcombe had a personal relationship with Bimini residents.
“Every day, we would get an encouraging text or call from our MP," she said. "He was our friend; he was a people’s MP.”
“Yesterday, I don’t think there was a dry eye. And no matter what your political preference was, he made it his business to become friends with persons throughout this island."
As a former Minister of Tourism, Mr Wilchcombe contributed to the development of Bimini.
He pushed for the Resorts World Bimini in North Bimini, the anchor project that has proven successful.
Mrs Saunders said under his representation, there were significant improvements to the straw market, government complex, clinic, and the airport to accommodate night flights.