Sir Cuthbert Steps Down, Sir Edmund Steps Up
By Geno Lawrenzi Jr. for The Observer
Sir Cuthbert Montraville Sebastian and Sir Edmund Lawrence
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Dec. 25 -- Sir Cuthbert Montraville Sebastian has announced his retirement from the post of Governor General after 17 years of service.

The retirement came two months after the Governor General turned 91. It was made public by Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas after he concluded his Christmas message to the people Tuesday. Both Sebastian and Douglas are physicians by profession.

Sir Cuthbert's retirement will take place on Jan. 1, 2013. On Jan. 2, he will be replaced by Sir Edmund Lawrence, Managing Director of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank.

Dr. Douglas praised Sir Cuthbert's dedication to the Federation, and expressed his gratitude on the part of the people for his many years of service. He said Sebastian's successor, Sir Edmund, is also a dedicated public servant whose bank 'has been pivotal to the growth and expansion of many businesses throughout St. Kitts and Nevis because of his vision and management skills.'

Recognised as the world's oldest head of state, Sir Cuthbert assumed his on Jan. 1, 1996.

He is the only surviving son of Joseph Matthew Sebastian, who served on the legislative and executive councils of St. Kitts, Nevis and Angilla until his death in 1944.

In preparation for his career as a surgeon, Sebastian studied at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick where he obtained his BSc degree. He continued his medical studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he graduated in 1958 with a MDCM degree, qualifying him to practice surgery.

In St. Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla, he became a pupil-teacher, chemist, pharmacist, laboratory technician, medical superintendent, obstetrician and gynaecologist. From 1980-83, he was chief medical officer for the Federation.

During World War 11, Sebastian served with distinction as a rear gunner with the Royal Canadian Air Force and a voluntary captain in the Scottish Army.

In 1969, Queen Elizabeth 11 bestowed upon him an Order of the British Empire.

When His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales Prince Charles visited St. Kitts on June 1, 1973 to open the newly restored Prince of Wales Bastion, Sebastian functioned as a local physician to him.

Dr. Douglas said he was accepting Sir Cuthbert's retirement on behalf of the Federation with 'heartfelt gratitude for his many years of distinguished service.'