By Robert A Emmanuel
A “trendsetter” and “a statesman”— those were some of the words used by President of the Antigua and Barbuda Association for Persons Living with Disabilities, Bernard Warner, on the passing of Colin ‘Don Official’ Richards.
Richards, a veteran events promoter and entrepreneur, passed away this week, according to family members posting on his official Facebook page.
Tributes flooded social media as persons both young and old spoke fondly of their interactions with the late businessman, a long-time wheelchair user.
“Don Official has really been a source of encouragement and empowerment to many of the young people who are living with some sort of disability, that regardless of your challenges, you can do more for yourself and your community,” Warner told Observer.
Richards, who was the owner of Don Official Accessories on Nevis Street, was hospitalised for some months with an illness.
Following his passing, the family announced that his store will remain closed until further notice.
Richards was also known for his work as an events promotor and his involvement in Carnival with the Angels J’ouvert troop, which Warner said made Don Official a role model for others.
“He really set the stage that people with disabilities are trustworthy…they can be held in high esteem…and [he] really set the bar,” he added.
One social media user spoke about Richards’ boldness and confidence which helped them to overcome their own personal struggles, while another wrote about the “sweet” memories of Richards at Antigua’s Carnival.