BASEETERRE, St. Kitts - TODAY (Dec. 31) marks the final day for His Excellency Sir Cuthbert Sebastian Montraville Sebastian, GCMG, OBE, MD, CM as Governor-General of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Sir Cuthbert, the world’s oldest de facto Head of State, was appointed Governor-General in 1995 and was sworn in on January 1, 1996. He has served in that capacity for the past 17 years and will officially relinquish the throne tomorrow (Jan. 1) with Sir Edmund Lawrence as his successor with effect from Wednesday (Jan. 2).
SKNVibes spoke with a number of notable public figures today, who congratulated Sir Cuthbert and wished him well on a retirement well deserved.
Hon. Curtis Martin, Speaker of the National Assembly: "The history of the twin-island Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis will record for posterity the monumental life of service proffered by His Excellency Sir Cuthbert Montraville Sebastian, GCMG, OBE, MD, CM. As we commemorate and he celebrates his retirement, we should all pause and pay homage to his unblemished record both in medicine and the general society as our Nation’s second Governor-General. We salute his labours of love for the sake and make of our country. My fervent and sincere wish to him is for full enjoyment of his retirement years circled by God’s grace and the love of his family and friends."
Hon. Sam Condor, Deputy Prime Minister: "It an honour to pay tribute to an outstanding son of the soil, Dr. Sir Cuthbert Montraville Sebastian, a man who has given outstanding public service to the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. He started in public service as a teacher many years ago and he went on to become a dispenser at the Cunningham Hospital and later a medical doctor.
"He then went on to occupy the highest office in this land - the office of Governor-General. He has given outstanding services. I am particularly pleased that I had the pleasure to observe him and work with him over the last 17 years as he occupied that office, and I can say that he gave really distinguished service to the country. I would like, on behalf of my family and I, and on behalf of the Ministries that I have held since he has occupied that office, to extend sincere congratulations to him on the service he has given to the country and to wish him well in his retirement. I think it is a well deserved retirement and I think the people of St. Kitts and Nevis are better off for his service in all the years that he has served. I wish him a really wonderful retirement...a well deserved retirement."
Hon. Vance Amory, former Premier of Nevis: "I would like to express my sincere congratulations to our outgoing Governor-General Sir Cuthbert Sebastian and to wish him all the very best in his retirement. I think all of us know he has served the country for a significant number of years and has carried the office of Governor-General with dignity. There comes a time in the life of everyman that he has to make a determination of going forward, and I suppose the Governor-General has given thought to his demitting office and I can only say to him that he now has earned that retirement. He has served the country for a number of years being a doctor and then the Governor-General. We as a people of St. Kitts and Nevis have to recognise the contribution of our outstanding citizens and I want to go on record as recognising his contribution to the office he has held, especially this last office of Governor-General.
"To Sir Cuthbert and to his family, I wish that they would have continued good health for as long as God would allow them. From my family and from my party, I extend to him happy years of retirement."
Calvin Cable, Executive Director of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce: "I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the Board of Directors and members of the Chamber, both on St. Kitts and Nevis, to express our gratitude to Sir Cuthbert Montraville Sebastian on his retirement for the good performance he has exhibited during his tenure as Governor-General. He has performed his duties with dignity and poise that Her Majesty the Queen would be proud of, and we would like to wish him a very happy retirement and God speed in the future."
Hon. Shawn Richards, Leader of the People's Action Movement: "On behalf of myself and the People's Action Movement, I take this opportunity to first of all thank Sir Cuthbert for his 17 years of service to the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis as Governor-General.
"Secondly, I wish him a happy retirement and I hope that with his retirement years he will not just be able to enjoy them but that the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis can look forward to guidance if such is ever needed."
Born to Joseph Matthew and Inez Sebastian on October 22, 1921, Sir Cuthbert attained his education at the Basseterre Boys Elementary School where he was known for his athletic capabilities, specifically track and field.
He went on to become a teacher at the same school from 1936 to 1939. In the latter year, he became the Learner Dispenser at the Cunningham Hospital, now known as the JNF General Hospital. He also joined the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force in that year.
In 1943, Sir Cuthbert became a qualified and licenced Chemist and Druggist and moved on to be a Laboratory Technician in 1944. In that year, he also joined HM Royal Air Force where he trained as rear gunner during the Second World War.
Nineteen forty-five saw Sir Cuthbert as the Senior Dispenser and Steward at the Cunningham Hospital, and in 1950 he travelled to Canada where he studied at the Mount Alison University and obtained his Bachelor of Science in Medicine in 1953.
Between 1953 and 1958, he also studied Medicine at Dalhousie University and became licenced by the Medical Boards of Canada and Nova Scotia.
Also in 1958, the outgoing Governor-General joined the government medical service in St. Kitts as a General Practitioner. He also became the Captain Surgeon of the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force in that year.
The years 1962 to 1966 saw Sir Cuthbert being the Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Dundee Royal Infirmary in Scotland. Those years also saw him being voluntarily attached to the Scottish Army with the rank of Captain.
In 1966 he became the Medical Superintendent, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the Cunningham Hospital in St. Kitts. He was then re-appointed Captain Surgeon of the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force also in 1966 until 1980.
Sir Cuthbert was appointed Chief Medical Officer in 1970 and moved on to have his private practice in 1980.
Sir Cuthbert, in 1996, was given the prestigious honour of being the Governor-General of St. Kitts-Nevis and Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George.
The management and staff of SKNVibes join with the nation in congratulating His Excellency Sir Cuthbert Montraville Sebastian on a well deserved retirement and wish him well in his future endeavours, and welcome all who have congratulatory messages to post in our Comments Section.