Dr. Qwominer William Osborne, OBE
Former Leader of the Opposition of the British Virgin Islands
Qwominer William Osborne was a politician and a former Leader of the Opposition of the British Virgin Islands.
Early life and education
Qwominer William Osborne was born on 5 November 1923 in Montserrat to James William osborne and Frances Anne Osborne (née Mack). He was educated at St. Petr's Secondary School (Montserrat). He holds a BS (1948) and Md (1952) from Boston University.
Dr. Osborne served as an Government Medical Officer and DO funril 1963 and continued in private practice until December 1998.
His political career started in the 1963 general election, when he was elected to the seat for the 5th District. Prior to 1967 elections to the Legislative Council of the British Virgin Islands were on a non-party basis, and legislators who were elected governed collectively.
However, the 1967 general election introduced party politics into the British Virgin Islands, and Dr Osborne founded and became leader of the VI Democratic Party. Ultimately that party would come second in the election to the BVI United Party led by Lavity Stoutt. Dr Osborne thereby became the first ever Leader of the Opposition in the British Virgin Islands.
In the subsequent 1971 general election led his party to the highest number of overall seats, but short of an outright majority. Faced with potentially ruling as a minority government, he formed a coalition with independent candidate Willard Wheatley. However, Wheatley required that he be made Chief Minister, and Dr Osborne agreed. Dr Osborne was appointed Minister for Natural Resources and Public Health.
The subsequent administration appeared not to be a happy one, possibly driven apart by Dr Osborne's own desire to be Chief Minister. Wheatley removed Dr Osborne from his Ministerial post in 1972. The VI Democratic Party splintered, and officially offered no contestants in the 1975 general election. Dr Osborne stood as an independent candidate and was re-elected. Willard Wheatley threw his lot in with the BVI United Party and won, forming a new coalition government and remaining as Chief Minister.
Dr Osborne ran again in the 1979 general election, but was easily defeated by Cyril Romney and retired for the first time. In that election he was the only candidate who stood for the VI Democratic Party (by then referred to simply as the Democratic Party), and after his defeat the party ceased to exist. Dr Osborne would later come out of retirement to run one more time, in 1986, but garnered barely any electoral support and lost by a wide margin.
Osborne was also the owner and Managing director of Lagoon Plaze Stores, Virgin Gorda Develpment Company, and Qwomar Trading Limited.
He was also a land owner and avid cultivator of assorted crops. He was responsible for the introduction of many exotic fruit and vegrtable cropts into the BVI.
Osborne was married to wife Eldwyth Norma Osborne (m. 15 August 1957). He was the father of son William Reginald Osborne, and adpted son Marvin E. Blyden.
Honours and awards
He was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE).
Osborne died on 16 September 1999, aged 75. He body was iterred at Johnson's Ghut Cemetery following a funeral service at the New Life Baptist Church in Tortola.