H.E. Sir Rodney Williams, GCMG, KGN, MBBS (UWI), CAM, CSM
Born in Antigua on November 2 1947, Sir Rodney Williams is the fourth of five children of the late Honorable Ernest Emmanuel Williams and Educator Irene Benjamin Williams of Swetes Village. After attending the Swetes Primary and Antigua Grammar Schools, Sir Rodney Williams received his MBBS Degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of the West Indies, in 1976. From 1978, after completing his Internship at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados, Sir Rodney Williams pursued his private medical practice in Antigua & Barbuda.
Entry into Politics
In 1984, following the tragic death of his father, Sir Rodney Williams entered Parliament as Representative for the Constituency of St Paul. One of the founding figures of the Antigua Trades & Labour Union and the Antigua Labour Party, Honorable Ernest Emmanuel Williams served alongside the Father of Antigua & Barbuda Dr Sir V C Bird, National Hero, eventually becoming one of the longest-serving parliamentarians in the history of Antigua & Barbuda.
After serving for two years as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Sir Rodney Williams took up the first of several successive ministerial appointments. Beginning in 1986 when Prime Minister V C Bird Sr. gave him his initial appointment as Minister of Economic Development, Industry & Tourism, Dr Williams served Prime Minister Lester Bryant Bird as Minister of Education, Sports, Youth & Community Development (1989-94), Minister of Tourism, Culture & Environment (1994-99), and as Minister of Education, Culture and Technology (1999-2004).
As Minister of Economic Development and of Tourism Sir Rodney Williams made largely unsung but highly significant contributions to the Tourism landscape, facilities and product of Antigua & Barbuda. While holding those portfolios Sir Williams had charge of the main engine driving the National Economy, which prospered under his stewardship. As Minister of Education, Sports and of Youth, Sir Williams’ contributions stand unequalled.
While he served in Parliament and as a Minister of Government, Sir Rodney Williams continued to provide free medical clinics in St Paul, begun in 1979. When Barbuda was without a doctor, he travelled to that island weekly, to offer pro bono clinics. Sir Williams also gave pro bono lectures on paediatrics to nurses at the Holberton Hospital. He has never refused medical attention to any patient, who could not pay, in keeping with his philosophy that “a person’s health should not depend on a person’s wealth.”