by Erasmus Williams,
BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, March 29th 2017 – Expressing sympathy on behalf of the opposition St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) and Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition in the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly, Leader of the Opposition, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas said Tuesday that the Governor General, Sir Cuthbert Montravelle Sebastian as a “giant of a man.”
Describing Sir Cuthbert as a “personal friend, (and) as a personal father,” the former Prime Minister, who recommended his appointment as the Federation’s Second Governor General to the Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II, said that the former physician/gynaecologist delivered about 40 percent of the babies during his practise and who are alive today as adults.
Dr. Douglas also hailed Sir Cuthbert’s tenure in the medical field with the culmination of his 246-page book “100 Years of Medicine” which chronicles the historical, cultural and socio-economic background in which medicine was practiced in St. Kitts during the past one hundred years.
“Although he is no more with us physically, it is hoped that the family or the researchers will want to allow his biography to be written and thus chronicle all of his achievements in his distinguished life and service to generations of Kittitians and Nevisians in St. Kitts and Nevis and overseas,” Dr. Douglas said during his weekly radio programme “Ask the Leader” on Kyss 102.5 FM.
He hailed Sir Cuthbert’s illustrious career in the health and medical fields which spanned 40 years having served as learner/dispenser, chemist and druggist, laboratory technician, senior dispenser, obstetrician–gynaecologist and medical superintendent. Dr. Sebastian served as Chief Medical Officer of St. Kitts and Nevis from 1980 to 1983.
Dr. Douglas noted that Sir Cuthbert’s 17-year tenure as the Queen’s Representative was exemplary and the longest serving Governor General in the Commonwealth.
Former Prime Minister Douglas recalled his weekly audience with Sir Cuthbert in his capacity as Governor General at Government House and the many discussions personal and otherwise.
“We must remember his service. We had a very excellent relationship, and though others might have tried to come between us, even to the very end, we were friends together. I will miss him. We all shall miss him,” said Dr. Douglas, who disclosed that on his return to St. Kitts and Nevis after studying medicine he sought Dr. Sebastian’s advice on opening his private medical practice.
“He advised me to put my office in a community where people are living so that when a mother comes home from work and she meets her child roasting in fever, she just simply grabs him and rushes him to your clinic if it is in the community,” he recalled.
Dr. Sebastian was also candidate for the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) in the East Basseterre Constituency in the 1984 General Elections.
“Though he was not successful politically, (he) followed in the footsteps of his late father, Joseph Matthew Sebastian, one of the founding members and later the leader of the Labour Movement – the St. Kitts-Nevis Trades and Labour Union and the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party.” said Dr. Douglas, who added that Sir Cuthbert “was conscious at all times of the beginnings of the Labour Movement and his own inseparable contact with the Movement here in St. Kitts and Nevis.”
“He remained steadfastly in his support of the Movement up to the time of his passing,” said Dr. Douglas.
Dr. Douglas noted that former Governor General Sir Cuthbert was also a businessman who invested in several areas including tourism, meat production and real estate.
In paying tribute to Sir Cuthbert, who died on Saturday at the age of 95, Dr. Douglas thanked his siblings, Mildred, his children and other family members and close relatives.
“We thank them for giving us his time, and we say that we have been a better country, a better people, from the services of Dr. Sir Cuthbert Sebastian, our retired Governor General who have gone home to rest,” said Dr. Douglas, who added that the medical fraternity in St. Kitts and Nevis and overseas who served with him will remember Sir Cuthbert.