By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
FORMER Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling said she will forever be indebted to former Minister of Social Services, Information and Broadcasting Obediah Hercules Wilchcombe, who died on Monday.
Dame Marguerite, 91, spoke about Mr Wilchcombe after retired sprint star Pauline Davis gave her a copy of her book, “Running Sideways,” at her home in Skyline Drive.
“All I know is that he was there when I was in my lowest moment after the loss of the Right Excellent Sir Lynden Pindling, the first prime minister of The Bahamas,” Dame Marguerite said.
“He was there to give me some words of encouragement, and I’m so pleased that he has learnt so much from my husband. He’s one of these people out there who knew so much more about my husband than I did. I’m learning more and more about a lot of things every day.”
Dressed in all-white as she reminisced about her late husband, who died on August 26, 2000, Dame Marguerite said Mr Wilchcombe emulated him as a “soft talker” while transitioning from journalism to politics.
“Wilchcombe was in a class all by himself,” Dame Marguerite said, shaking her head in awe. “Wilchcombe was able to speak exceptionally well of him. I always asked him how he was able to do it?”
Like Sir Lynden, Wilchcombe often spoke without a script. Dame Marguerite recalled a meeting she attended with him in West End, Grand Bahama.
“I told him that I didn’t know what to say. He told me I will be right by your side to give you some pointers to help you out,” she recalled. “I told him that I wasn’t well trained. Sure enough, he helped me to get through it. I will never forget him.”
The last official function she attended with Mr Wilchcombe was an installation service on September 10 at the William Thompson Auditorium on Jean Street where Rev Dr Philip McPhee became the 11th president of the Bahamas Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention.
“He was in his jovial style, having such a great time,” Dame Marguerite said.
With the reshuffle of the Progressive Liberal Party on September 4, Mr Wilchcombe’s portfolio of Urban Renewal was removed, and he was made responsible for information and broadcasting.
Dame Marguerite said she felt he was back in his element.
“He was so happy to be back at ZNS,” she said. “That alone gave him a new life. The staff alone was looking forward to working with him again.”
She commended him for the “giant step” he took as a journalist at ZNS, protecting his informant by refusing to reveal the man’s identity, which caused him to spend four days in Her Majesty’s Prison.
“Do we get that today?” she asked. “He wanted to get ZNS back to that level of credibility. ZNS, when we were growing up, was the only voice that truly covered The Bahamas.
“Now there’s so much competition that ZNS really needed some sprucing up. I was pleased that he was given the portfolio to help bring back the glory days. We’ve lost so many great journalists from ZNS, and now Wilchcombe is the latest one.”
Dame Marguerite said: “God only takes away the best.”