By JADE RUSSELL
Tribune Staff Reporter
A MENTOR, friend, and a force to be reckoned with is how cabinet ministers described Obie Wilchcombe after his shocking death yesterday.
When The Tribune visited the Office of The Prime Minister, the mood was sombre as several ministers shared memories about their former colleague.
“He was somebody that always believed in giving your best,” said Labour and Public Services Minister Pia Glover-Rolle. “He would be somebody I would bounce my speeches off. He would encourage me to participate as much as possible. But most importantly, he was a friend.
“I served as an employee of the Ministry of Tourism between 2013 and 2017, and he was my boss. I understood his passion for not just political life, but his passion for serving our country, his passion for seeing young people advance and his passion for ensuring that the world knew about the best country in the world.”
Transport and Energy Minister JoBeth Coleby-Davis said that during her last conversation with Mr Wilchcombe, he was preparing for the reopening of Parliament next month.
“He wanted to make sure that, like he did the first time, the women stood out again in our contributions,” she said. “Just to think that he was already preparing for that day and making sure that role was executed to perfection almost, and to make sure that he continued to realise the importance of what women lend to politics, and knowing that he carried such a role and his portfolio being gender affairs as well how much he believed in women excelling.”
National Security Minister Wayne Munroe said Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander notified him that Mr Wilchcombe was found unresponsive.
He said his death shocked him.
“I had the privilege of being his neighbour in Cabinet,” he said. “We sat next to each other in the Cabinet so we would have an occasion to share a joke now and again at the table at times. I also had the privilege to work with him as his ministry had intersected a lot of the work that my ministry was doing with identifying and assisting youth at risk, also to address domestic violence and sexual violence.
Health Minister Dr Michael Darville said Mr Wilchcombe was a great orator and historian for The Bahamas and the PLP.
“He was a leader in the world of journalism and a consummate politician,” he said. “Obie’s presence in Cabinet and in the House of Assembly will be sorely missed as he always added a depth of knowledge and the voice of experience to these forums.”
Free National Movement Leader Michael Pintard remembered the veteran politician for his extensive knowledge and wit.
“Those of us who operated opposite Obie Wilchcombe, we were keenly aware that if you were speaking on the same platform that he was speaking on, that you had to be thoroughly prepared,” he said. “Once again, he brought his wit, sometimes his humour, but certainly a historical perspective to the various issues that he addressed.”
Several organisations paid tribute to Mr Wilchcombe as well.
“Before transitioning into the political arena, Minister Wilchcombe was first a broadcast journalist, who cast a long shadow with his dedication to journalistic ethics,” said Anthony Capron, president of the Bahamas Press Club. “He will forever be remembered for his four-day stint on Fox Hill Prison, rather than giving up his source of information.”