Sir Cuthbert Sebastian given final salute

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By Loshaun Dixon

Basseterre, St. Kittsi-Members of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis said their final goodbye to Sir Cuthbert Sebastian GCMG OBE KStJ ED, former Governor General who was laid to rest on Monday.

Mr. Sebastian died March 25 at his home and was buried with full military honours as many current and former heads of states and dignitaries were present at the St. Georges Anglican church for the funeral service.

Before the service, the body of Sebastian lay in state at Governor’s House and made its way through the parking lot of the JNF Hospital where nurses paid their final respects to the former medical professional.

Following the service thousands of citizens and visitors lined the streets of Basseterre as an open carriage with the coffin made its way towards spring field cemetery.

Former Governor General was eulogised by his daughter Ermelin Sebastian who stated that she was devastated of the reality that the journey of her father who served in his many capacities has come to an end.

She admitted that she agonised over how mere words could capture his larger than life personality.

“How can mere words lend to his kindness and selflessness? How can mere words convey the depth of his love and unwavering support that his family and closest friends have become ever so reliant upon?, she said.

She added that her father “managed to leave an indelible mark on the lives of all whom he came into contact with.

“Thankfully, the inadequacy of my words is no consequence because his life and his work resoundingly conveyed the goodness of his heart.”

Sebastian stated that she would speak on her father’s legacy adding that it was “simple yet profound.

It was one of service. Service to his God, service to his fellow men and service to his beloved St. Kitts and Nevis.”

She also remembered stories of her father’s love for medicine that go back to when he was a youth.

“It is my understanding that at the tender age of four he could not bear to see his older sister suffer from a tooth ache so he told her to stand still and took aim the a young breadfruit and the tooth and tooth ache were no more,” she said.

“I also recall the story of a hen who in the process of trying to squeeze under a barbwire fence managed to rip her guts out. However young Cutie armed with a needle and thread sewed up the hen’s stomach so well that a few months later that very hen laid eggs.”

Sebastian stated that it was only when she became an adult she recognized that her father’s love of medicine was bound to his love of God.

“He often emphasised that God had given him a divine gift, the gift of healing and of all the professions on earth the medical doctor was the only profession which played an integral role in the mystery of life and death. He believed that by serving his God was to usher new life into this world and caring for God greatest creation the human being,” she said.

She indicated that a hallmark of her father’s legacy was his generosity.

“Because of his generosity countless have avoided the pitfalls of life. Because of his generosity countless have had the opportunity of an education. Because of his generosity countless have created better lives for themselves and there families. He did not give because he had it… he gave because he was a believer in bettering people,” she said.

Also giving remarks at the funeral was Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris who stated that “our country mourns the loss of one of its great sons of the soil.”

“A man who served his Federation and his people with distinction in many areas of life.When his story is written it will be said among other things that Sir Cuthbert Montraville Sebastian, was a man of many facets,” he said.

Dr. Harris said in every arena he played exceptionally well and he lived a full life and had a long time in the land of living.

“This in itself is a blessing and he used much of his time to bless others. This large towering gentleman has left indelible footprints on the sands of time,” he said.

The Prime Minister also reminded that Mr. Sebastian was also widely credited for holding the record for delivering the most babies in the federation.

He also remembered his time as Governor General of St. Kitts and Nevis and said, “His 17 year tenure as our second governor general since our nation’s attainment of independence can safely be characterized as colourful and innovative.”

Also remembering the former Head of state was former Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas whom recommended Sebastian’s appointment to the post.

“His appointment was approved by Queen Elizabeth II. And Dr. Cuthbert Montraville Sebastian proceeded to serve the Federation of St. Kitts-Nevis as Governor General with focus, commitment, and honour for the next seventeen years. And for this, both as the former Head of Government St. Kitts and Nevis, as well as in my capacity as a private citizen, I will forever be indebted to him,” he said.

Dr. Douglas added that he received invaluable advice in running his administration as well as in his personal life from Sebastian.

“Sir Cuthbert generously provided invaluable advice on the do’s and don’ts of office site selection, office hour scheduling and the imperatives of sound medical office management,” he said.

The former Prime Minister also thanked Sebastian for the role he played in the history of St. Kitts and Nevis.

“The nation thanks his family for the precious time, energy, and resources that were taken from them and shared with us, as Sir Cuthbert, over so many years, faithfully applied himself to affairs of state. We owe a debt of gratitude to him. We owe a debt of gratitude to his family.

Sir Cuthbert Sebastian was 95 years old. He served as the second Governor General of St. Kitts and Nevis from 1995- 2013 and also many other capacities such as chief medical officer and hospital steward.