Ronald Williams (15th Jul 1929-26 Jan 2011)

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Ronald André Williams was born on July 15th 1929 in Port of Spain. He attended Rosary Boys R.C. School and St. Mary’s College where he was vice-captain of the football and cricket teams. In 1946, he joined the Colonial Service and left seven years later for St. Michael’s College, Canada. He obtained both his Bachelor of Science (1958) and Master of Science degrees (1959) in Environmental Engineering from the University of Toronto. While there, he kept active in sports and captained the university’s football team.

In 1959 Williams took up the post of sanitation engineer in Trinidad. He contributed to supervision of several sanitation schemes and sat on the Water & Sewerage Authority (WASA) establishment team. He joined the WHO in 1963 as an environmental health engineer. He worked in Iraq, Egypt and Ethiopia over a seven-year period as an advisor and lectured at the college and university level.

Returning to Trinidad in 1970, Williams made several national contributions. He was the project manager for consultants on the Caroni-Arena water supply and the Navet pumped storage projects. He chaired the Pollution Control Council and was a member of the National Conservation Council.

In 1978 he prepared the paper “Preliminary Proposals for a Caribbean Centre for Environmental Health” on behalf of PAHO/WHO. He assisted in the early development of this body, the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI), when he returned to WHO in 1979 for a ten-year period of service.

During this period, he was instrumental in founding the Caribbean Waste Water Association (CWWA). Together with the President of the Inter-American Association of Sanitary and Environmental Engineers and PAHO, Williams, as CWWA president, initiated the celebration of Inter-American Water Day in 1992. This has now developed into Inter-American Water Week and Month in several countries. He later expanded the CWWA’s scope to include solid waste management issues.

Retired since 1989, Williams is a Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, U.K. and a member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Trinidad and Tobago (APETT). He is a joint founder of ReCaribe, Wider Caribbean Solid Waste and Recycling Alliance, founder and first President of the Society for the Conservation, Appreciation and Promotion of the Environment and former Executive Director of the Caribbean Forest Conservation Association.

He passed away in 2011.