Morris’ Upbringing Set Tone for Love of Education, Country

Morris departed this life on 4th May, 2011 and was buried on Thursday, 12th May, 2011 at the Bethesda Moravia Church where he was eulogised by Tapley Seaton C.V.O., Q.C.

Morris took his first breath on Sunday, 25th November, 1934, born to Gwendolyn Charles and Ira Morris and from a tender age was exposed to and understood the pivotal role played by education in one’s development. He also developed a thirst for knowledge through his love for reading.

His Grandfather Jonathan Alexander Charles was a strict disciplinarian, an educator and an Elder in the Village of Cayon and instilled in him the importance of education and community. Sidney applied himself diligently. His education therefore began at his Grandfather’s private school up to 1947 when he entered the Cayon All Age School at this Moravian Church’s schoolroom. He earned two Standard Seven Certificates.

“He was a very active member of the Reading Club in Cayon which was started by his Godfather, the renowned Icen Wharton and was also a member of the Cayon Literary Society.”

Seaton QC explained that Morris answered the call when the teaching profession summoned, and though he departed from it, he returned to continue service in that field.

“The teaching profession beckoned and on May 15, 1950 he joined the teaching profession.  Incidentally, that was the year of my birth. He successfully passed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, year examinations and went on to become an Assistant Teacher passing his 2nd and 3rd year courses.Tapley-Seaton

“Upon his return (from furthering his education), his first assignment in September 1965 was as Principal of Cayon All Age School.  By 1966 he was transferred to St. Peter’s Primary School. He was from 1968 – 1970, Vice President of the St. Kitts Teacher’s Association.  He taught at Sandy Point High School from 1967-1968 and back to Cayon All Age School from 1968-1969 as the first Graduate Head of a Primary School.  He was from 1968 to 1970, Vice President of the St. Kitts Teacher’s Association.  He was Principal of St. Peter’s Primary from 1969-1970 when he resigned from the teaching profession to work on contract as Industrial Relations Officer of the Sugar Association from 1970-1973.

“But teaching was his calling and from August 1973 to February 6th, 1980 he was employed as a Mathematics, Geography and Civics Graduate Teacher at Warwick Secondary School in Bermuda. He earned many accolades for his teaching prowess and made many enduring friendships.  He was also Secretary of the Bermuda Teachers’ Association and from 1977-1979 was an Examiner in Civics and Geography for the Bermuda Secondary School Examinations.”

Morris, however returned to the land of his birth and become actively involved in elective politics, contesting the General Elections of 1980 and winning the Constituency No. 8 seat for the People’s Action Movement (PAM) party. Morris served under the leadership of Dr. the Right Honourable Sir Kennedy Simmonds and did so for four terms from 1980 to 1995, holding various portfolios over the period including Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the Social Security Board, Minister of Health, Education, Community Affairs, Youth and Community Affairs, Communications, and Public Utilities.

Describing Morris as “a community man”, Seaton expressed that he was “grounded in the work thereof. In the 1960’s, he was Secretary of the Cayon Literary Society and joined the St. Kitts Jaycees Chapter in the 1960’s, serving as its Secretary from 1968-1969 and its President in 1970. He received the accolade of Senator from Junior Chamber International. In the 1980’s he was part of a team helping to revive the St. Kitts Jaycees Chapter. From 1969-1970, he was Chairman of the Cayon Community Council and the Excelsior Table Tennis Club. He was a lifelong Member of this Church, the Bethesda Moravian Church.”

Morris, according to eulogiser, “epitomised the statement of Theodore Hesberg ‘The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision.  You cannot blow an uncertain trumpet.’ For the Hon. Sidney Morris, his vision for the development of this Country and his Community, was clear and the action most certain.  In the words of Marian Wright Eidelman – ‘Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.’  He certainly did.”

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