Mr. Basil Ferguson’s 90th Birthday Celebration at the Social Welfare Training Centre

Social Welfare Training Centre (SWTC) was pleased to host Mr. Basil Ferguson’s 90th birthday celebration on June 29, 2017 in the Sybil Francis seminar room. The celebration was aptly timed as it coincided with the 13th Association of Caribbean Social Work Educators conference which this centre collaborated with the Social Work Unit to host. 

Mr. Ferguson, a past tutor and lecturer at SWTC for 32 years, has contributed greatly to the development of Social Work in Jamaica.  He was the type of individual who would see a need and take prompt and necessary action, such as commandeering an abandoned building to start a programme for inner city youth. This programme later became known as the Learning for Earning Activity Programme. With that bold characteristic, he was involved in pioneering work with the Council of Voluntary Social Services, the Sistren Theatre Collective, and the Young Men’s Christian Association. 

He was also one of the early proponents in establishing a social work code of ethics and licensure among many other lauded accomplishments. Alongside this time of celebration, there was a time of reflection and storytelling as various family members and past colleagues recalled fond stories of Mr. Ferguson. Past colleagues included social work stalwarts such as Janet Brown, Faye Duncan, John Maxwell and Mrs. Headley. 

Mr. Basil Ferguson engaging his guests with a story

Mr Ferguson also used the time to honour his friends and colleagues who are no longer with us; Mr. Geoff Brown, Professor Rex Nettleford and Dottie Watkins. Mr Ferguson being the quintessential historian and comedian entertained us with his passionate stories throughout the afternoon. On behalf of the University, Mr. Lincoln Williams thanked Mr. Ferguson for his distinguished service. 

The event and its guest of honour was a true representation of the statement “A life lived in the service of others is a life well lived.” We are grateful that he chose to celebrate with us and wish for him many more years. 

Mr. Basil Devrill Ferguson (Son) and guests entering the event  
Guests socializing before the festivities  
(L-R): Mr. Lincoln Williams (Head of SWTC), Cerita Buchanan (SWTC Programme Officer), Mrs. Phyllis Ferguson (Wife of Mr. Basil Ferguson), Mr. Basil Ferguson, Mr. Nicholas Ferguson (Grandson), Mr. Nigel Ferguson (Son)