Former chief minister, Dr Wilfred de Souza passed away after a brief illness at a city hospital on Friday morning. He was 86.
Dr Wilfred de Souza was a surgeon and politician from Goa. He had served as Goa’s chief minister on three occasions when he was a member of the Indian National Congress and the Goa Rajiv Congress, during his third tenure.
In July 1998 Dr de Souza formed the Goa Rajiv Congress as a splinter group of the INC. He was sworn in as Chief Minister for the third time on 30 July 1998 and remained in the post until 26 November 1998.
In 1999, Dr de Souza joined the Nationalist Congress party and was its Goa president from 1999 to June 2009. During this period he was Deputy Chief Minister in a coalition government with the INC from February 2005 to June 2007. He failed to retain his seat in the 2007 assembly election. After he left the party, Gurunath Kulkarni, national general secretary of the Nationalist Congress party accused him of impeding the party’s growth in Goa.
In 2007, he was appointed the Deputy Chairperson of the State Planning Board. He attended “The Navhind Times Ex-NCC Achiever Cadet Awards” ceremony organised by the Ex-NCC Cadets Association and presented awards and certificates to various winners. He also related his experience when he was a member of University Cadet Corps (now NCC) while complementing the award winners.
For the 2012 assembly election he was a member of the All India Trinamool Congress as head of the Goa branch of the party. During the election, he criticised the INC for corruption.
He was born in Kampala, Uganda on 23 April 1927, to Dr Tito Fermino de Souza and Alina Ana Maria de Souza
Dr de Souza has been credited with being one of Goa’s most skilled surgeons and holds a doubleFRCS. He is married to the British-origin nurse Grace.
He is also credited (together with political strategists and allies like Govind Panvelcar) with managing to work out the surprising 1980 first-ever Congress victory in Goa, whose politics from 1963 till 1979 had been dominated by the regional parties, particularly the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party.
M.B.B.S. (Bombay University); Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, England; Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh; Honorary Fellow of the International College of Surgeons; Fellow of the Association of Surgeons of India.
Awards and achievements
- Commander, Grand Cross of the Order of Dom Infante Henriques – from the Government of Portugal at the hands of the President of Portugal, H.E.Mario Soares;
- Dr. B. C. Roy Award – as “Eminent Medical Man & Statesman” from the Medical Council of India at the hands of the President of India, H.E. Shri K.R. Narayanan;
- The Silver Elephant Award – for services to Scouts & Guides by the President of India;
- Sons of India – award from the society for Advanced Studies in Medical Sciences at the hands of Swami Brijendramandji, Head Ramkrishna Mission;
- Jawaharlal Nehru Excellence Award – given by Institute of Economic Studies, New Delhi;
- Indira Gandhi Solidarity Award – given by Indian Solidarity Council, New Delhi; Rajiv Gandhi Excellence Award, 1992;
- International Gold Star Award – by Industrial Economic Forum, New Delhi; Super Achievers of India Award by Front for National Progress;
- Glory of India International Award – by International Friendship Association of India;
- Gold Award – by Shiromani Institute;
In addition, he has worked in several hospitals in the UK 1957–1963; Consultant surgeon to Goa Medical College Panjim; Asilo Hospital Mapuca; Hospicio Hospital Margao; Holy Cross Hospital, Mapuca; C.M.M. Memorial Hospital, Panjim.