Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris visited the family of the late Sir Cuthbert Montraville Sebastian GCMG, OBE, MD, CM this morning (Sunday, March 26th, 2017), to pay his respects on behalf of the Government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Sir Cuthbert Sebastian assumed the post of Governor-General of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis on January 1st, 1996 and retired 17 years later on January 1st, 2013. He died yesterday, Saturday, March 25th, 2017 at the age of 95.
“I extend my heartfelt condolences to Sir Cuthbert Sebastian’s family and loved ones, including his children and grandchildren, on behalf of the Government and people of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. May you find comfort and peace in the fond remembrances that many people both at home and abroad have of him, from his stellar service in the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force as its longstanding captain surgeon, in the H.M. Royal Air Force as a rear gunner during World War II, and as a captain in the Scottish Army during the 1960s, as well as in myriad capacities within the Federation’s healthcare sector,” Prime Minister Harris said last night.
The Honourable Prime Minister noted that Sir Cuthbert Sebastian mastered every one of those positions, making a name for himself in his own right and stepping out of his father’s shadow during the process. Sir Cuthbert Sebastian’s father was Joseph Matthew Sebastian, a well-educated, successful trade union leader and politician.
Sir Cuthbert Sebastian worked as a learner dispenser at Cunningham Hospital then in 1945 he was appointed senior dispenser and steward (hospital administrator) and remained at Cunningham Hospital for the next five years.
Sir Cuthbert Sebastian would go on to study in Canada, earning a Bachelor of Science degree from Mount Allison University and an MDCM (doctor of medicine and master of surgery) degree from Dalhousie University. He later pursued training in obstetrics and gynecology at Dundee Royal Infirmary in Scotland, United Kingdom. Upon his return to the Federation, he worked again at the hospital as medical superintendent and obstetrician/gynecologist, and later served as chief medical officer.
Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris continued last night: “Sir Cuthbert was a renaissance man, demonstrating many talents and a penchant for excellence, even at a very early age when he was a ‘pupil teacher’ teaching the younger boys at the school he attended in Basseterre. We have lost a treasure, but how blessed we are to have had him. Tonight, the many mothers and fathers whose babies he delivered are thinking of him. Sir Cuthbert Sebastian’s body is gone, but his legacy lives on in countless ways.”
The former Governor-General’s death comes 13 days after Sir Probyn Inniss’s. Sir Probyn Inniss, who died at the age of 80, served as Governor from 1975 to 1981. He was accorded a state funeral with full military honours this past Thursday, March 23rd.