Former Montserrat Chief Minister dies in US at 75
BRADES, Montserrat – The government and people of Montserrat are deeply mourning the loss of former Chief Minister Dr. John Alfred Osborne.
BRADES, Montserrat – The government and people of Montserrat are deeply mourning the loss of former Chief Minister Dr. John Alfred Osborne. He died in the United States of America on Sunday, January 2, 2011 at the age of 75, where he was undergoing medical treatment.
The island’s national Radio Station ZJB continues to receive calls and emails of grief and offers of condolences to the Osborne family in an atmosphere of deep mourning across the island. His family has thanked the medical teams and friends and family who gaved their support during the period of his illness.
He first came to the position of Chief Minister in November 1978 as a member of the People’s Liberation Movement (PLM) and continued until losing legislative council elections on October 10, 1991. By 2001, he switched parties, joining the New People’s Liberation Movement. Under his leadership, the NPLM won a sweeping 7 of 9 seats in legislative council elections on April 2, 2001, and he served as Chief Minister from April 5, 2001 until June 3, 2006 when he resigned after elections in which his party was defeated. However, Dr. Osborne was a member of the Dr. Lowell Lewis coalition government until March 2009, when he retired from public office.
Dr. Osborne holds the distinction of being the longest-serving politician in Montserrat, totaling 38 years. Of these years, he was Chief Minister for 18 years. He made his contribution to the economy out of projects such as the AUC, and during the pre-Hugo period, his slogan “let the good times roll” had meaning when the standard of living rose among Montserratians.
Montserrat’s Chief Minister, the Honorable Reuben T. Meade said: “Mr. Osborne’s passing is a national loss of a ‘wealth of knowledge,’ ‘national identity,’ and a national icon who was generous, kind, and the embodiment of an enduring and unmoving love for humanity. Dr. Osborne was a speaker who was able to capture the attention of all and demonstrated true leadership. He shared with his people and the world life’s lessons of amassing wealth and securing triumph over challenges and opportunity over loss. He will live on in the hearts of all Montserratians as long as life lasts.”
Dr. Osborne has been referred to by close friends and colleagues alike as “Bassy” and “Chief,” reflecting his stalwart leadership and his keen and natural ability to take charge in the most positive way.
Dr. Osborne is a significant former Chief Minister who was returned to office many times and was rightly credited for taking Montserrat out of “British aid status” in 1982 when this was seen by many as impossible. Many Montserratians looked to him as a father figure who demonstrated that he knew how to provide and create opportunities on “bread and butter issues” for his people.
Dr. Osborne served his country with distinction and always made the achievement and advancement of his people the center of his work and what he set out to achieve. Truly he was a man of the people who was known to insist on mingling with his grassroots brothers and sisters.
His death is a great loss to his family, his native land of Montserrat, the entire Caribbean, and the world of politics.
Beyond parliament, Dr. John Alfred Osborne’s life’s work was a demonstration of commitment of service-to-people above self, and his legacy will live on.