Slain JDF officer was a true Taylorite - Always helping students on UWI hall of residence

June 16, 2023
Major Dr Bonnie-Paul Williams of the Jamaica Defence Force.
Major Dr Bonnie-Paul Williams of the Jamaica Defence Force.
The University of the West Indies, Mona campus.
The University of the West Indies, Mona campus.

As the shock of the tragic death of the slain Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) officer Major Dr Bonnie-Paul Williams wears on, representatives from Taylor Hall at The University of the West Indies, Mona, where Williams boarded while he was a student, remembered him as a tremendously supportive individual.

Student Services Development Manager for Taylor Hall, Athol Hamilton told THE WEEKEND STAR, "I would've interacted with him more in his capacity as a medical doctor. He was very helpful in assisting our students like if they have sports injuries, or they had to do a scans, X-rays or anything at all. He would really provide very good support to the hall as a member of the hall alumni."

A release from the JDF confirmed that Williams was shot and killed by gunmen at on Ridgeway Terrace, St Andrew, on Thursday morning. The release said that Williams was returning home when he was spotted by a group of men who were attempting to steal a vehicle. The men then opened fire on the officer and stole his licensed firearm.

Williams, who boarded on the block known as Attica, had been involved in various outreach programmes with the institution since his graduation.

"It's something that has hit us very hard. We are still shocked by it. This is someone I know personally, we communicate from time to time, and as I said before he provides tremendous support to our students," Hamilton said. "All I would ever need to do is call him or send a WhatsApp message and he is there for us so this is very distressing."

Chief of Defence Staff Rear Admiral Antonette Wemyss Gorman said, "Major Williams lived as a nation builder as he served his country with unwavering commitment and professionalism. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, fellow comrades-in-arms and medical professionals."

Echoing praise for Williams was Brigadier Ricardo Blidgen, brigade commander for the Jamaica National Reserve where Williams was serving as brigade medical officer. Blidgen expressed his sorrow by saying, "Major Williams epitomised selflessness in his service towards his fellow citizens. His death will be a matter of enormous sadness to those who knew him and those whose lives he has impacted."

Hamilton said that while the Taylor Hall family is still working through the early stages of grief, they will soon start to find ways to honour the 'Hall of Halls' alum.

"I know the block that he resided on. Much of what I imagine will be done would be done in collaboration with the block, block D (Attica) because that is how things are structured here. Our alumni tend to engage mainly with their block, and so I have been in touch with some of the alumni members already. Those are ones who he would be closest with," he said.

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