Charles Wilson Has a Heart For Serving People


Pillmont Road Rehab
Charles Wilson standing on a section of a road in the Pillmont area of Sherwood in Trelawny. The road was not accessible by taxis for over a year. He assisted with materials. Photo by Charles Wilson


Light, finally!
Charles Wilson (left-center) and his team install a solar light in Panarsus, Clark’s Town in February. This section of the community was dark for years. Photo by Charles Wilson

Irreplaceable, genuine, humble, and kind are words used to describe Charles ‘Sweatsuit’ Wilson, caretaker candidate for the Sherwood division in Northern Trelawny.

Wilson’s dedication to the people is described as rare and they claim he ‘’works harder than the councillor.’’  ‘’This is my councillor, ’’ his supporters chanted after hearing his defeat in the local elections.  

‘’You never see Harper do the things this man do,’’ grumbled one supporter.  

The first time contender lost to the Jamaica Labour Party’s Dunstan Harper by 87 votes. Garcia Cunningham is one supporter who was not pleased with his defeat and claimed Wilson deserved to win because he did a lot for people.  


‘‘Mi feel very bad and upset fi know seh Sweatsuit help out anybody he can before politics and inna politics and fi know seh people really let him down dem kinda way yah, mi feel upset, ‘’ she said bitterly.  

The defeat did not discourage Wilson, who claims his commitment to the people keeps him serving. The Portland born retired detective was placed in Trelawny to ‘serve and protect’.  

While serving in the parish, he met his wife, settled in Duanvale and has been serving since. Wilson has been maintaining community infrastructure with his money and via sponsorships. He cuts the Duanvale track field and oversees the community center. He also installed solar lights on streets that have been dark for years in sections of Sherwood, Clarks Town, Kinloss and Duanvale. He also helped to provide materials needed to fix a road in Pillmont, Sherwood.  

‘‘The ladies in Panarsus, when they coming from work at nights, whenever they come off the bus, right out there is very, very dark. That’s the reason I put those lights there in order to enhance security,’’ said Wilson.  

The former detective expressed that he had sleepless nights, patrolling the streets.  

‘‘I had a lot of sleepless nights, I was out on the street when everybody was sleeping. At least its my mantra to say, ‘I have to close the streets’,’’ he said.  

His mother taught him, ‘service is the rent you pay to be on this earth.’ This encouraged him to serve others.  


“I have always sat down and think out a real plan, district by district and I say ‘what is it that I think this district needs now’ and then I implement it,’’ he said.  

Wilson served as a member of the Duanvale Primary School board for two decades; he played a huge role in the development of the school’s sports and academics. Wilson played cricket growing up.

After settling in Duanvale, he recognized the need for sports development in the community and learnt how to play football, netball, and track and field by reading and watching YouTube videos.

Later, he named himself the community’s ‘sports director’ and started coaching at the primary school. During school hours, Wilson had special class sessions with the slower students.

Wilson, the now manager for the Duanvale senior football team, helped his team secure the Trelawny knockout football competition trophy in March. He has garnered strong support from community members who believe his motives are genuine.  

‘’If him neva did a do it from him heart, him wouldn’t do it continually with pay or without pay. Him did have wah cricket team over school where for some pitney weh couldn’t find it fi go[to cricket games] he carry dem same way. When a graduation he give dem medal fi mek dem feel good inna themself, that a way before politics,’’ Garcia Cunnigham said.  

Wilson, who is no longer a member of the board, still plays an active role in the school’s development. Duanvale Primary School’s sports day was held four days after Wilson’s defeat, and, he prepared the field voluntarily. While some people did not support his decision, Wilson remained persistent.  

‘‘Children are my passion. I have gotten some good results out of it too. I got some kids that can run and got them to go to Hydel and they are doing well. The results coming from it [are] really good so it inspire me to push on and no matter what anybody seh, i’m still gonna do it because I think its the right thing to do,’’ said Wilson.  

Wilson coached Sashana Johnson at Duanvale Primary School before she made her transition to Hydel High School. Johnson ran 54.59 to become the fastest girl in the 400m class three event at the ISSA boys and girls champs in March. Wilson is a champion for youth empowerment, and he inspires the children to become more than the negative stereotypes that plague the young people of the Duanvale community.  


‘‘ I strive to let them see that there’s a different way that you can live other than staying in Duanvale and let grass grow under yuh feet, ‘’ Wilson stated.  

Wilson, 70, takes pride in being able to communicate with young people. He credits his relationship with the youths to their willingness to trust his direction and leadership.  

‘‘ I find myself communicating with young people very, very good. Over the years, anything I say to them, it always come and bear fruit so I think it come down to a matter of trust, the trust they have in me,’’ Wilson said.  

Wilson aims to provide a safe space for those in need.  

“There’s a little guy in the district here. Mentally he’s not really a hundred percent, and when he found himself in that position, the first place he came [was] my house and he came sat down with me and he reminisce over the years when he was in school and the things that I taught him and every morning by 6am he’s here to talk with me, ‘’ he said.  

Most Jamaicans say the politicians they support are committed to serving. Often times, this is just mouth talk as Jamaicans are skilled at being die-hearted fans and colouring the dark silhouettes of politicians with bright crayons.  

‘‘Before mi mother dead, him did a try get the house fixed, that a before politics. Before my mother pass Mr. Wilson always seh to me whenever your mom need to go to the doctor, mi can call him,’’ Garcia Cunningham expressed.  

By Daneilla McLaughlin   

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