|Professor Sir Howard Archibald Fergus, OBE, CBE, KBE
Former Speaker of the Legislative Council of Montserrat
Professor Sir Howard Archibald Fergus is a Monsterratian academic, former Speaker, and former acting Governor of Montserrat.
Early life and education
Professor Sir Howard Archibald Fergus was born at Long Ground, Montserrat on 22 July 1937. He attended Bethel Primary, Montserrat Grammar School, Erdiston Teacher’s College in Barbados, the University College of the West Indies (1961-64) and the Universities of Bristol (Cert Ed. 1968) and Manchester (M.Ed, 1978) and UWI (Ph. D, 1978).
Sir Howard has served Montserrat since 1955 as a teacher, voucher clerk, Chief Education Officer (1970-73), and Acting Permanent Secretary.
Sir Howard was Speaker of the Legislative Council of Montserrat from 1975 to 2001 - one of the longest serving Speaker in the Commonwealth. He has also periodically acted as Governor of the island since 1976. He was a member of the West Indian Commission (1990-92) and was a member of the British Virgin Islands Constitutional Commission in 1993. He was Chairman of the Montserrat Electoral Commissions in 1996 and 2000, and was Supervisor of Elections in 2001 and for all previous general elections since 1973.
Since 1974 his main job has been that of Extra-Mural Resident Tutor of UWI, Montserrat, where he ran a Creative Writing Workshop. He has remained ion the island since the devastating eruption of Soufriere in 1997, which reduced the island’s habitable space by two-thirds, caused the collapse of the economy and forced the migration of almost half of the population.
Sir Howard is widely published in the fields of history, education, poetry and literary criticism. His works include History of Education in the British Leeward Islands (2003), Montserrat: History of a Caribbean Colony (1994, 2004), and some six books of Poetry – Lara Rains and Colonial Rites (1998), Volcano Song: Poems of an Island in Agony (2000), Volcano Verses (2003), Christmas Festival (2007), I Believe (2008) and Death in the Family (2008). Dr. Fergus was winner of the Caribbean Writer Prize (1992) and the David Hough Literary Prize for an author residing in the Caribbean (2002). His new collection Volcano Verses will be published by Peepal Tree in 2003.
In 2012, he released Festival at Fifty, a colourful story of a significant slice of Montserrat’s cultural history. It celebrates arts and artistes and a posse of volunteers who created an institution called Festival which has survived ructions and eruptions.
Honours and awards
He was awarded an CBE in 1995. In June 2001, Sir Howard was made a Knight Commander, Order of the British Empire (KBE), the first Montserratian to have received the award. The award by her Majesty the Queen in her Birthday Honours, recognises Dr. Fergus’ outstanding service to Montserrat, the Caribbean and the Commonwealth as a whole.
Sir Howard's song Motherland was selected as the Official National Song for Montserrat. The music was arranged by Dr. George Irish.