To put it mildly, Aral, Howard, Archibald Fergus, KBE, OE, PhD was a great man of the soil. He came from Long Ground, which he described as a poor village in his book “Road from Long Ground, My Personal Path.” Many people said that Long Ground was “behind God back,” a phrase that became common and stained the Long Ground Community. However, a man of great honor emerged from “behind God back”; a very impressive achievement considering that he was raised by parents with no wealth and little education. As God-fearing, honest, hardworking, and ambitious parents they contributed significantly to his development.
Dr. Fergus, as he was commonly known, was knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and more specifically by Prince Charles in 2001, therefore gaining the title “Sir”.
Prior to this, he was awarded a number of accolades to include, Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1979, “for services to education and the community in Montserrat”, which was upgraded to Commander of the Order of the British Empire, (CBE) in 1995. In 2014 he received the Order of Excellence from the Government of Montserrat.
Sir Howard gracefully served as the longest-serving Speaker of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly. He served the period 1975 – 2001 and 2009 – 2010, and for a short time from October 2014 to January 2015. He also served as Supervisor of elections and returning officer interchangeably from 1973 to 2019. He was very influential in the single constituency, 9-vote system established in 2001.
Aral, Howard, Archibald Fergus, took his first Oath of Due Execution of Office as Deputy Governor on October 28th, 1976, and from then on, he served on numerous occasions before the constitution was changed in 2010. His performance of the duties of Speaker of the Montserrat Legislative Council for over 25 years and of Acting Governor on numerous occasions, is indeed commendable.
In his lifetime, Sir Howard was a teacher, voucher clerk, and Chief Education Officer, and acted as Permanent Secretary. He was the second Montserratian national to become the Extra-Mural Resident Tutor of UWI, Montserrat. He was a poet and writer of several published books.
The Department of Legislature applauds the invaluable contribution of Sir Howard to the Department of Legislature, the Legislative Assembly, and the Montserrat population at home and abroad. We take this opportunity to express our heartfelt condolences to Lady Eudora Fergus, his children, his grandchildren, and the entire Montserrat Community at home and abroad.
May his soul rest in eternal peace.