Seven named in Queen’s New Year Honours List; Cyrus to be knighted
Vincentian surgeon, Dr Arthur Cecil Cyrus has been awarded the Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (KCMG) in the Queen’s New Year Honours List for 2019.
Notification of Cyrus’ knighthood was made public in the December 28 edition of the London Gazette.
Considered St Vincent and the Grenadines’ most distinguished physician and surgeon, Cyrus received the award for services to medicine and to health services.
“I am delighted of course, but it is a pity that the honour is really mine and not my wife’s because she has been behind me, my doctor, my support, my everything,” Cyrus told SEARCHLIGHT on Saturday, when asked to respond to the conferment of his most recent honour.
“… We have a feeling of extreme gratitude to the Prime Minister and Sir Frederick and all those who had a say in this. It makes me feel somewhat fulfilled that my life’s journey has ended with this honour.”
The retired surgeon, who will 90 years old on January 6, told SEARCHLIGHT that today, Saturday, December 29 is a proud day in his family.
Born in Layou, St. Vincent, Cyrus learnt as a boy that the visiting district doctor tended, ”only those with a shilling”.
This social inequality inspired him to become a doctor. He attended Layou Government School, Kingstown Anglican School and later St. Vincent Boys’ Grammar School.
In 1950 he entered Queen’s University in Ireland. He was the first overseas student to win the Symington Medal in Anatomy among other prizes. He gained the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) of England and Edinburgh.
He specialised in other areas of medicine before returning home in 1963, where he was appointed Consultant Surgeon to the Colonial Hospital.
In spite of shortages of staff, equipment, and basic facilities, he worked tirelessly to clear the patient backlog. The island’s first trained surgeon, he did the work of many specialists to restore dignity to patients affected by disfiguring tumors and sores. He obtained diplomas in ophthalmology and obstetrics and opened the private Botanic Hospital in 1976.
Over 25 years, he recorded the diversity and grossness of diseases in a collection of photographs, specimens and x-ray images. After retirement (2001), he converted his clinic into the “Dr. Cecil Cyrus Museum” to display part of his collection and unique medical instruments.
He has received other awards including the Order of the British Empire and the Companion of the Most Excellent Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (CMG). A former Deputy Governor-General of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, he was honoured by the Pan American Health Organisation and his image appears on a commemorative stamp. he keeps active, delivering public lectures and publishing medical papers.
The other Vincentians who appear on the Queen’s New Year Honours List for 2019 are Girlyn Miguel, Corsel Robertson, Derry Williams, Robert Balcombe, Molly Baptiste and Sherron Morgan-Peters. Miguel, a former parliamentarian and minister of Government has been awarded a Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (CMG)for services to politics, education, community and to women’s empowerment. Robertson and Williams have been named Ordinary Officers of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to civil aviation and the financial sector respectively.
The award of Ordinary Members of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) has been conferred on Balcombe for services to agriculture; Baptiste for industry and commerce; and Morgan-Peters for services to education and community work.