Beckford, Ferguson remember Gibbs Willams, as sporting fraternity mourns slain cricket manager

By October 06, 2023
Gibbs Williams was gunned down on Friday. Gibbs Williams was gunned down on Friday.

As the local sporting fraternity continues to grapple with news of the tragic slaying of national cricket manager Gibbs Williams, Paul Beckford and Davion Ferguson are already reflecting on the life and impact the prominent son of the soil had on many.

Williams, who was also a vice principal at GC Foster College of Physical Education and Sport in St Catherine, was gunned down on Friday afternoon at the compound of a medical facility in Portmore.

It is reported that Williams was called outside of the medical facility and shot by unknown assailants. He was later rushed to the Spanish Town Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. 

A former Cricket Coach at Waterford High School, and Wolmer’s Boys School, Williams unearthed the talent of Jermaine Lawson.  He served the JCA as manager of the Under-19 cricket team and also as Physical Trainer.

Williams was the manager of the Jamaica Under-19 team, that recently won the double Regional U-19 Championship, and also served as the manager for the just-concluded West Indies Under-19 team tour to Sri Lanka.

Beckford, another vice principal at the Angels-based institution explained that a pall of gloom permeated the atmosphere as students and teachers alike, are still coming to terms with the situation.

“It is very somber, as we speak, we are doing some counselling to try and see how best we can help each other through this difficult period. I can’t find the words to express how great a loss it is, especially knowing that I spoke to him earlier because he was at work and then left to go to the doctor,” Beckford told

He recollected Williams’s dedication to his craft as both a lecturer and cricket manager, as well as his commitment to guiding those under his tutelage.

“Just think about somebody who motivates and instills discipline. In everything he always wants to help young people and pushes them to get the best of them. Everything that an educator or a parent would want from those under their care, that is the kind of person he was,” Beckford shared.

“We don’t really know what happened, if we were to say anything now it would just be speculating but he doesn’t deserve this and only God knows and we only hope that whoever it was will come forward,” he added.

Ferguson, a former student and assistant coach of GC Foster College, recalled how he and Williams met through their mutual acquaintance with the now-deceased Glenston Hutchinson.

The Jamaica College Head coach, like Beckford, spoke highly of Williams, who was affectionately known as “Gibbo”.

“I am not usual lost for words but right now it is hard to comprehend. Gibbo was more than a lecturer, he was a role model, a father figure, he motivated everyone and generally had a positive impact on those he came in contact with. It really hits hard and both GC Foster and the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) has lost a monumental figure,” Ferguson said.

“He was my lecturer in college plus he was very close friends with Hutchinson, so we grew into a friendship, and he would always see me and say, ‘boy coach “Hutchie” would be proud, and I am also proud of your achievements.’ So, he played a huge role in my upbringing from my time at GC Foster.

“Nobody really knows what happened, but no matter what the situation is, I don’t think any human being deserves to have their life taken and certainly not Gibbo, who had such a big heart and looked out for others,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Jamaica Athletics Administrative in sending condolence to the GC Foster College community, expressed shock and sorrow at Williams’s untimely passing.

“Mr. Williams was not just a dedicated educator but also a pillar of strength within your institution. His unwavering commitment to the betterment of students, his tireless efforts in promoting physical education and sports, and his genuine care for the welfare of the school community were truly remarkable,” the JAAA release said.

“In times like these, it is difficult to find words that adequately express the depth of our sympathy. We share in your grief and stand by your side as you mourn this profound loss. Mr. Williams’s contributions to the college and the lives he touched will be remembered with great respect and fondness,” the statement added.

The Jamaica Cricket Association was also saddened by the tragic situation.

“Gibbo was passionate, enthusiastic and a tireless servant of cricket. We pray that his soul is judged with mercy,” the JCA release stated.

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

Related items

  • CWI, JCA partner to give young cricket enthusiasts taste of international cricket CWI, JCA partner to give young cricket enthusiasts taste of international cricket

    In a bid to foster a deeper appreciation for cricket among the youth of the Caribbean, Cricket West Indies (CWI) provided tickets for students and teachers, as well as members of Jamaica’s age-group teams to enjoy the three-match series between West Indies and South Africa at Sabina Park.

    The initiative which CWI says forms part of its corporate social responsibility efforts. The regional body provided 2,685 tickets to students, 412 to teachers, and 198 tickets to players from the Under-15, Under-17 and Uner-19 teams, ensuring these young athletes have the chance to experience top-tier cricket action.

    The Schools Ticketing Programme, a central element of this initiative, is designed to immerse young minds in the thrill of cricket, offering them the opportunity to witness international matches and develop a lasting passion for the sport.

    CWI President, Dr. Kishore Shallow, underscored the importance of cultivating a strong cricket culture across the region, and this he said reflects his administration’s ongoing commitment to youth engagement and sports development.

    "We are keen to help revitalize cricket in Jamaica. Introducing the children to cricket is vital for the future of the sport in Jamaica and the entire region. By bringing students to these matches, we are not only providing them with an enjoyable experience but also nurturing an appreciation and love for cricket that can grow with them,” Shallow said.

    "This Schools Ticketing Programme initiative is about more than just watching a game; it's about creating a connection with the sport that can inspire future generations,” he added.

    Recently-elected Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) President Dr. Donovan Bennett, expressed enthusiasm for the initiative and its potential impact.

    "We are thrilled to collaborate with CWI for this Schools Ticketing Programme. This initiative promotes cricket and instils values of teamwork, discipline, and perseverance in our young people," he said.

    "By exposing students to live cricket matches, they are getting a deeper understanding and appreciation for the game. This experience is invaluable for their personal and athletic development,” Dr. Bennett noted.

    West Indies won Thursday’s first game by 28 runs. The remaining two matches of the series are scheduled for Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26 at the same venue. Start time is 2:00pm.

  • JAAA blames late withdrawals, 'unforeseen' challenges for World Relays failures JAAA blames late withdrawals, 'unforeseen' challenges for World Relays failures

    Following Jamaica's underwhelming showing at the World Athletics Relays in the Bahamas, the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA) has released a statement addressing the significant hurdles that impacted the team's performance, including unexpected athlete withdrawals and other challenges leading up to the event.

    Only Jamaica's men's 4x100m relay team qualified for a final and an automatic spot in Paris this summer. However, the mixed 4x400m relay team, women's 4x100m relay team and the women's 4x400m relay team were forced to qualify through a second-round of heats that got them into the 14 teams that automatically qualified for the Summer Games.

     In their official statement Wednesday, the JAAA acknowledged the concerns of Jamaican track and field supporters and highlighted the challenges faced leading up to the event.

     "We share the consternation of the Jamaican Track and Field supporters at the showing of our athletes at the recently concluded World Athletics Relays in the Bahamas," expressed the JAAA.

     They emphasized the standard procedure of contacting athletes, coaches, and agents to confirm availability before selection, with a specific deadline in place. Despite meticulous planning, the team encountered significant withdrawals, compelling them to proceed with the athletes who were available.

     "After selection and team entry, we were plagued with withdrawals and had to continue with those available," stated the JAAA.

     While Jamaica eventually managed to qualify all other teams, the men's 4x400m relay team has been left with the daunting task of running a time fast enough by the June 30 deadline to get into Paris.

     The JAAA acknowledged that the team faced unforeseen challenges that impacted their usual level of performance.

    However, specific details regarding these challenges will be forthcoming once the JAAA receives comprehensive reports from the management team, including medical and technical assessments from the ground.

    "Heartiest congratulations to those who represented us as we strive to keep Jamaica's flag high," concluded the JAAA in their statement, recognizing the efforts of the athletes who competed under challenging circumstances.

  • Reviving cricket's spirit: new JCA president Bennett focused on rebuilding sport from its foundation Reviving cricket's spirit: new JCA president Bennett focused on rebuilding sport from its foundation

    “If you really want to kill whatever you do, start from the top going down.”

    Those words by newly-elected Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) president Dr. Donovan Bennett, just about declared that he is armed with a vision and a no-nonsense approach to not only change the narrative of the country’s governing cricket body, but also to rebuild the sport from the youth level up.

    Bennett, who has a passion for cricket, revealed plans for the journey ahead with optimism that he can lead Jamaican cricket into a new era of greatness, after he dethroned Wilford ‘Billy’ Heaven 67 to 30 during the JCA’s Annual General Meeting at the Jamaica Conference Centre on Thursday.

    Interestingly, Bennett, was a long-serving vice-president to Heaven, who led for over a decade, but said he was forced to challenge for the presidency due to the state of Jamaica’s cricket, and the resounding response from delegates justified his decision.

    Though a bit surprised by the margin of victory, Bennett believes his proven track record at the youth level was what convinced delegates to vote in his favour, denying Heaven a fifth-consecutive term.

    “I suppose because of my work at the youth level. I must say, I was quite successful for a very long time, and if we're going to rebuild Jamaica's cricket, then we've got to start at the bottom and work our way up. So, I think the voters think that they needed somebody who have a proper knowledge of cricket and how to administer it,” Bennett said.

    With well-known administrators Fritz Harris and Dr Akshai Mansingh as his vice presidents, Bennett intends to waste little time rolling out his ambitions for the future of Jamaican cricket. His first order of business was to focus on rebuilding the sport from its foundation –the youth.

    “If you start a building and you build from the top downwards, you're going to have problems. There's only one profession where they start from the top and go to the bottom and that is a gravedigger. So, if you really want to kill whatever you do, start from the top. So, we're going to start from the bottom. We are going to start at the Under-13 level, our first task would be to start building from there,” he declared.

    “Because if you build the Under-13 and you build it properly, then the following year, you will have Under-15 cricketers, and the following year you'll have Under-17 cricketers, and it goes along like that. There's also another gap in that pyramid. Just below the top of the pyramid, we have an Under-23 gap, when players leave the Under-19 level, sometimes they get lost because there is not an Under-23 level to absorb them and to keep them going in the game. It's not going to happen in one year. It's going to take time, but if you do it properly, before you know it, you will have guys who are winners for you,” Bennett explained.

    Bennett's approach to youth development is owing to the fact that the country's current crop of senior players, have had very little success in recent times. As such, he and his team are ready to hit the ground running, with the assistance of others, to steer cricket down the right path.

    “I understand the enormity of the task at hand because things are at a very low level right now, but as I told my supporters and my friends that, I can't do it alone, and it's going to take the effort of every cricket loving person to get this thing going. No one of us or no few of us can rebuild cricket in Jamaica. So, it's going to be a process of working with and consulting with all the clubs and parishes. We've got to rebuild that relationship between the clubs and parishes because the JCA is a reflection of the clubs and parishes. So that's where I think we need to go,” he added.

    For Bennett, the implementation of plans, which were shelved by his predecessor, will also take priority on his to-do list. However, with the JCA currently strapped for cash, he is hoping to access funds from Cricket West Indies (UWI) to cushion the shortfall.

    “There are a lot of good plans lying at the JCA. The problem with the JCA has been implementation and getting the funding in place to get these programmes working. So, we need funding, and we need proper implementation. So, the effort has to be there, and the money has to be there. So let us not fool ourselves. If we don't have money, we can't do anything,” Bennett noted.

    He continued: “I think one of the problems that the past administration had is that they didn't get funding because they didn't go and ask for it. We are going to go there and we're going to ask for it, and I'm sure that with the proper presentation and proper plans being drawn to be presented to sponsors, that we will get sponsorship.

    “And I have significant goodwill at CWI level. I mean, I represent Jamaica there, and I have tried my best to be respected and understood by the majority of the directors there, so I expect cooperation at that level. Right now, the CWI owes Jamaica a lot of money, and I am sure that we will get that.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.