Neil Wilson, who for many years served as a People’s National Movement (PNM) representative in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), was laid to rest yesterday following a funeral service at the St Andrews Anglican Church in Bacolet, Scarborough. Wilson, 86, died on June 22.
Tobago-born Anglican Bishop Claude Berkley, who officiated at the service, said Wilson’s life epitomised the virtues of a good Christian and Tobagonian.
He said based on the eulogies at the service, Wilson exhibited the “Tobagonian trait” of encouraging youngsters to ensure they saw the “bigger picture.”
Among those paying tribute was Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, who said Wilson made significant contributions to Tobago, having served on various boards in the private and public sectors. He was also chairman of the PNM Tobago Council for many years and was well respected within the community.
“Wilson became for me, and all those of my era up to the last, an icon of respect. He might not have been a household name in Tobago but he was sufficiently widely known to be regarded as a consummate Tobagonian for all Tobagonians,” Dr Rowley said.
“Wilson was a serious man with a great dream. Tobago changed considerably over a period largely led by people like Neil Wilson.”
He said Wilson had helped the PNM over the years and in the 1980s when the party had “the prospect of winning one of 12 seats” he never lost enthusiasm.
Former THA Chief Secretary Orville London, in a video message from London, England, where he is currently serving as this country’s High Commissioner, said Wilson played a “big brother” role to Tobago, companies, individuals and the PNM.
He said Wilson had “singlehandedly financed the PNM’s election efforts during the period when being a PNM supporter was really not fashionable” and the former businessman’s tenure in the THA made a difference.
“During his tenure, he succeeded in transforming the tourism sector in Tobago to such an extent that a number of Caribbean countries approached him,” London said.
Wilson also served in several non-political capacities, including president of the Tobago Jaycees and president of the St Clair Coaching school. He also received several national awards, including a BWIA award for Invaluable Contribution to the Travel Industry in T&T in 1981, THA Merit (Gold) 2017, and the Chaconia Medal (Silver) 2017.