BRADES, Montserrat – Sir Howard Fergus believes the story of Dr. John A. Osborne’s life cannot be written without acknowledging his work in transforming Montserrat’s education system.
Dr. Fergus, speaking during a panel discussion on ZJB Radio Montserrat on Tuesday evening said the late chief minister who passed away on Sunday, January 2, 2011 made his greatest and most lasting impact for the island by choosing to include secondary education for all. Dr. Osborne, while in office made secondary education universal in 1986.
The author and former Speaker of the House said Dr. Osborne was the only leader who made a clear call for independence. He added that Montserrat must always move toward self-determination and at the same time ensure that the UK does its duty to help rebuild the island’s infrastructure.
“By making St. Patrick’s Day a national holiday he gave us a space to honor slaves as the freedom fighters they were and also helped to build national cohesion,” Sir Fergus added. “By naming the national airport after Dr. Osborne he was given iconic status.”
Another guest panelist, former Permanent Secretary Kenneth Cassell said the former chief minister was a witty and shrewd entrepreneur who did not enjoy sitting in an office shuffling paper. “Dr Osborne wanted to be hands on and get involved in what was happen. That was the way he was in everything he did.”
Mrs. Annie Dyer-Howe who rounded out the panel and who was a member of the PLM said “John used his knowledge and position to ensure that the small man was taken care of. It was important to him that everyone had money in their pocket.”
The Official Funeral for the late Dr. John Osborne will be on Friday January 21, 2011 at the Montserrat Cultural Centre.