BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, MARCH 27th, 2017 (PRESS SEC) — Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris remembered the late Sir Cuthbert Montraville Sebastian GCMG, OBE, MD, CM fondly and with gratitude today, Monday, March 27th, 2017, while appearing as a special guest on His Excellency Ambassador Michael Powell’s radio program The People’s Voice on Sugar City 90.3 FM.
“Sir Cuthbert has often been described as a Renaissance man,” Prime Minister Harris said, adding that the former Governor-General of St. Kitts and Nevis, who served in that capacity between January 1st, 1996 and January 1st, 2013, “lived among the ordinary people, and worked and talked with the dignity and decency [expected] of the highest office in the land.”
Dr. Harris further stated that, “He had the opportunity to serve with distinction as our distinguished Governor-General. In a manner of speaking, he popularized that office, attending many, many events and he therefore set a hectic calendar – for those who would have succeeded him – to have to follow.”
The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis continued: “He gave his patronage to so many of the events that were taking place in the country. His was an active office of Governor-General, and we say thanks to him. His own professional career has been diversified and well involved.”
During his radio appearance this morning, Prime Minister Harris went on to note that Sir Cuthbert Sebastian served 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.
In addition to his military service, Sir Cuthbert Sebastian’s impressive credentials included a Bachelor of Science degree from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada; an MDCM (doctor of medicine and master of surgery) degree from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, and training in obstetrics and gynecology at Dundee Royal Infirmary in Scotland, United Kingdom.
Throughout his distinguished medical career in the Federation, Sir Cuthbert served in varying capacities, such as learner dispenser, senior dispenser, steward (hospital administrator), hospital medical superintendent, obstetrician/gynecologist, and chief medical officer.
It was as a young dispenser and hospital administrator that Sir Cuthbert developed a breadth of knowledge that would help propel him to become a versatile, well-rounded Renaissance man and achieve professional greatness.
During an interview with the St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service (SKNIS) in late 2015, Sir Cuthbert Sebastian explained that his experiences back then served to inspire him to pursue medical studies and become a doctor.
“After that, I decided that I wanted to go and study medicine because I did all the work that was necessary in the hospital at that time, including giving anesthetics,” Sir Cuthbert Sebastian told SKNIS in late 2015, adding that, “There was only one doctor in the hospital and he couldn’t operate and at the same time give the anesthetic, so the dispensers were his assistants.”
In a statement issued by the Honourable Prime Minister yesterday, Sunday, March 26th, Dr. Harris 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.
Indeed, during his farewell speech as Governor-General on New Year’s Day in 2013, Sir Cuthbert Sebastian said that, “True it is that I have inherited some of my father’s splendour, but I must also admit that I would measure my personal success in terms of the contribution I made to my fellow human beings.”
Speaking today on The People’s Voice radio program, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris reflected on one of Sir Cuthbert Sebastian’s most meaningful contributions.
“I believe it is said that he holds the record of delivering the most babies in St. Kitts and Nevis,” Prime Minister Harris said, later disclosing that his first recollections of Sir Cuthbert Sebastian were the occasions when his mother visited him “prior to giving birth to some of my siblings.”
The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis also said that, “I want to place on record the country’s debt of gratitude for the excellence of his service and for his longstanding contribution to our development.”