Although I was familiar with the writings of Mr Wade Kojo Williams Sr., I honestly did not know who he was. It was not until I made a social visit to the home a friend, who was familiar with the articulate exchange between Wade Kojo Williams Sr. and myself and as a result, of the person’s knowledge, they asked if I knew Kojo and insisted I knew Mr Williams as well as I know them. In an effort to justify their conviction I was shown a photograph of a young Wade Kojo Williams. Immediately I recognized the face of the person as a man from my early childhood, one who on occasions visited my father’s rum shop.
From my opening statement you should have concluded that I do not know Wade “Kojo” Williams Sr. personally; after all he is many years my senior and he left the shores of St Vincent and the Grenadines many years ago. However, because my father, the late Hamilton Palmer’s rum and grocery shop was like the headquarters of St Vincent and the Grenadines Labour Party (the political party that is now referred to as Old Labour), a party of which Kojo was a member, and due to the fact it was like a ritual for every minister of the Labour government, from the premier, who later became St Vincent and the Grenadines first prime minister, the Rt Hon. Robert Milton Cato, to his most junior senator to frequently visit my father’s establishment. Although Mr Wade Kojo Williams was not a frequent visitor to my father’s rum shop, I can remember seeing him there on several occasions.
After all, Kojo associated with the Labour Party politicians and they were my father’s personal friends, especially the late Hon. Hudson Tannis, and for them in that era, the Palmer rum shop was the place to be. Apart from serving up liquor that could have burnt a hole in cured concrete, the fellers looked forward to the many manly and appetizing delicacies my father prepared for them. Manly delicacies that ranged from fried shark with roasted breadfruit, to stewed stingray, from fried congo (sea snake), to stewed iguana or manicou or any exotic meal to the regular rice and dried salted codfish, boiled fish with coconut dumplings, etc., while they argued, met the people, competitively played pejour, shared jokes, reflected on old times, discussed the political commess (gossip), etc. while they ate and driak their fill.
Today many people assume fictitious names under which they write. They do so for several reasons, the primary of which is they have become so uncomfortable with the truth that in order to have a constructive truthful discussion they must hide their identity, in an effort to evade public recognition or because they are protecting themselves from the repercussion of truthfully offending others. In some cases the writer’s motivation is to viciously and maliciously destroy the character of the innocent and in so doing they assume fictitious names under which they protect themselves from the consequences of hatefully and maliciously defaming another’s character.
The fact that Mr Williams did not cowardly hide behind the disguise of a pen name, while addressing very controversial topics and criticizing the words, actions and life of anyone who in his opinion needed to be whipped back into place, was a bold display of the strength this man had; it also tells the story of the intent of his heart and the content of his character, which is a testament of his love for the country, the place Kojo calls home: St Vincent and the Grenadines and its people.
In many ways fundamentally Kojo and I were alike, one of the things we have in common is the fact that we have very little control when it comes to expressing our feeling on matters that are dear to us. However, Kojo and I shared different political views as it relates to St Vincent and the Grenadines politics, and for reasons I just cannot understand, it appeared that Kojo had a total dislike for the man I hold in dearest esteem Mr Arnhim Eustace, and he showed tremendous respect for a man whose ethics, dignity, values, behaviour, etc., I just don’t care for, the prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines: Ralph E. Gonsalves. As a result of our differences, our love for country and our passion for writing, Mr Wade Kojo Williams and I have had many heated and spirited battles of words on the pages of Caribbean News Now as we traded letters and comments on different topics.
However, never once in all the heated and spirited exchange that Kojo and I had, did we ever revert to outright disrespect for each other although we have come pretty close. There were many people who would not take up a pen and write a letter to address their issues with Wade Kojo Williams but instead they would often try to capitalize on the heated exchanges between Wade and I. As a result, they supplied me with all types of unsupported nasty allegations as related to Kojo; to be used against him, which would go outside the spectrum of the unwritten or unspoken but understood respect we had for each other.
The exchanges Kojo and I had were not limited to the conventional media, but it extended to Facebook via mutual friends’ profiles, where we agreed and disagreed in a friendlier environment. There were even occasions when we argued on the same side of issues, supporting each other’s point.
I became very disappointed when, recently, for a few months I did not see any article bearing the signature of Wade “Kojo” Williams. Now that I know the Mighty Kojo’s fingers will no longer be tapping out his thoughts on the keyboard of his computer, I am saddened and even more disappointed, for I am going to miss his writings. Kojo was able to address several topics that I felt strongly about but was uncomfortable addressing for one reason or another and he did so with the forcefulness that was needed.
In closing let me thank the close friends but more importantly the immediate family of Mr Wade Kojo Williams Sr. for providing him with the emotional and other support he needed while he was alive; the type of support that provided the security to boldly express his opinion without fear; also in the same breath, let me express my condolences to the family of Wade Kojo Williams. It is my prayer that the love, grace, mercies, goodness and bountiful blessing of the almighty God: Yahweh be with you all in this your time of great and personal loss. Rest in peace, Mr Wade Kojo Williams Sr.