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 Sportsmax.tv.

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.

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