St. Vincent and Grenadines Association of Toronto

Oswald Kingsley George

Oswald Kingsley George
By Cordel Telfer

The heights of great men reached and kept,
were not attained by sudden flight.
But they while their companions slept,
were toiling upward in the night.

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Born Oswald Kingsley George in Mesopotamia, St. Vincent on April 30, 1943, the third child of Duncan and Leah George. Ossie, as he was affectionately known passed away on January 6th, 2005 at his home on Hopewell Rd, Mesopotamia, St. Vincent.

Ossie was many things to many people. He was a son, a husband, a father, a brother, a community leader, a politician, a police officer, a teacher, a business man and a visionary. Ossie brought creativity, intelligence, a commitment to public service and had a talent for enlarging the ideas and roles of people around him to benefit the community in which he so willingly served.

Ossie's illustrious career began as a graduate teacher in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the late 1960's. He also worked as a police officer there, which earned him the nickname, One George. He later migrated to Canada and the momentum never slowed. He earned a Bachelors of Arts degree, majoring in business law from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. He also furthered his training at several other educational institutions, including, George Brown College, Sheridan College, Seneca College and University of the West Indies School of Continuing Studies, St. Vincent.

Ossie was a dedicated member of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Association and served on the executive on several occasions and as president on two occasions. In 1976 he served a full term then midway in his term in 1984 he decided to return to his homeland to pursue other interests. Although it has not yet owned property, Ossie encouraged the group since then to look into acquiring real estate and on two different occasions to enter into lease agreements for a place to conduct its business and have its meetings. Current members who have worked with him in the organization describe him as being one of the most innovative and progressive leaders that organization has ever seen.

Embarking on the political stage, Ossie contested municipal elections in 1982 in the then City of North York. Not winning the election as Alderman in Ward 3 did not damper his political ambitions. He returned to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and contested the general elections there in 1984. He was a candidate on the ticket of the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the Marriaqua constituency. Ossie also lost this election. However, it marked the beginning of the end of the Labour Party's monopoly on Marriaqua. In the following general elections of 1989, Marriaqua was won by the NDP with Bernard Wyllie as its candidate.

Under the NDP administration, Ossie served chairman on a number of statutory boards including, DEVCO, GESCO, Diamond Dairy and Agriculture Corporation. Before his retirement four years ago, Ossie returned to his first love, teaching at the New Adelphi Secondary School.

The family of Mr. George will be establishing a scholarship in his honour, to benefit a student from the Marriaqua Valley in St. Vincent and the Grenadines who has passed the Common Entrance exam for entry into any of the secondary schools in the nation.

A memorial service will be held in his honour on Saturday, April 23, 2005 beginning at 4:00 p.m. at the British Methodist Episcopal Church, 1828 Eglinton Avenue West (Corner of Dufferin & Eglinton), Toronto, Ontario. A reception in the church hall will follow immediately after the memorial service.


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