Message from RW Bro Walter H. Scott

RW Bro Walter H. Scott
Address to Communication of District Grand Lodge of Jamaica and The Cayman Islands
on July 28, 2012


I am pleased to extend a heart felt Jamaican and Caymanian welcome to you all. I am pleased that despite the distractions of the London Summer Olympics, the Jamaica 50 Celebrations and others, you are here in such significant numbers.

This District continues to be very deeply honoured and privileged to have as our very special guests:

  • R.W. Bro. James Randolph Bain, The District Grand Master of the Bahamas and Turks, a very good friend of this District. He has already addressed us this afternoon and I am sure that you have all benefited from his very interesting talk.
  • We are fortunate that R. W. Bro. Peter Cole the Past District Grand Master of the Bahamas and Turks is also with us and we heartily welcome him.
  • We also welcome V. W. Bro. Richard Wallis and our very distinguished guests from England. Although primarily here for other Masonic duties having to do with other Orders, we are delighted to have them here with us.

Today we welcome for the first time in their new capacities as Rulers from our sister Constitutions in this District:

  • R. W. Bro. Peter Stuart, the Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Jamaica and the Bahamas, and other members of his delegation.
  • Bro. Col. Lemuel Lindo, the Right Worshipful District Grand Master of the District Grand Lodge of Jamaica (Scottish Constitution) and his very large deputation.

I also offer a very special welcome to R.W. Bro. Afeef Lazarus, our revered Past District Grand Master.

Brethren, last year at this time I addressed you in some detail on the Universities Scheme and the fact that members of the University Lodge of the West Indies voted in open Lodge for their Lodge to become a member of the Scheme. I am pleased to report that on 15 June, 2012 the first two gentlemen under the Scheme were initiated by the lodge. Both are at tertiary institutions. One is a medical student and the other is pursuing a degree in music. I ask that you all give the Lodge as much support as you can, whether by your own Lodges becoming receptor lodges or otherwise, in order to ensure the continued growth and development of the Scheme and its young members. I am informed by the W.M. of the Lodge that there are other individuals in the pipeline for initiation.

Brethren, today we have honoured one of our members who has given tirelessly to the cause of English Freemasonry in this District. I speak of W. Bro. Lyndon Roy Haynes, the District Grand Almoner. His work is that of legends. He is this year’s recipient of the Certificate of Service to Freemasonry. Please join me in again applauding his hard work, dedication to duty, and compassion.

On the matter of Charity and Benevolence, you are aware that the Banquet which follows this Communication is the Festival Banquet. The proceeds of this year’s Festival, by the Royal Lodge and the Friendly Lodge No. 239 will, as usual, go to the District Board of Benevolence. Your continued support of the Festival System is critical to the growth of the capital fund of the Board of Benevolence.

Brethren, in 2011 the District Board of Benevolence disbursed J$2,718,907.00 to needy Brethren. This sum, all that we could afford without going into the capital of the fund of Benevolence, was insufficient to meet the needs of a large number of needy and deserving brethren. This sum was augmented by the sum of J$5,232,300.00, (£34,395.00) from two of the four Central Charities of United Grand Lodge of England under the Free Masonry Cares Program. Brethren, we need to, and can do more by ourselves for ourselves. However, this can only be done by increased support to the Board of Benevolence and to the several Lodges as they attempt to raise funds for their respective festivals. I urge and implore you to give real meaning “to the distinguishing characteristic of a Free- Mason’s Heart”

Brethren, as a District we continue to make significant contributions to public charities and institution. In 2011 the Lodges distributed a total of J$6,409,879.00 to charity. In 2011, the District, through one of its institutions, Free-Mason’s Association of Jamaica Limited, donated:

  • J$500,000.00 to the National Children’s Home;
  • J$350,000.00 to the YMCA; and
  • J$150,000.00 to the Nuttall Memorial Hospital;

Again, I urge you to continue your charitable work.

Brethren, I am obliged to address you on the matter of a “MASONIC HANDSHAKE.” I do so for two reasons. Firstly, because from time to time, brethren who meet me in public attempt to do something irregular with a handshake, and secondly, because this notion of a Masonic Handshake allows our detractors to state or imply the wrong things about us. In his address to Grand Lodge in September 2010 the Pro. Grand Master stated as follows:

“One of the great myths we need to overcome is that of the so-called Masonic ‘handshake’. It is said to be given to get business or to do underhand deals. But, Brethren, do remember that the signs, grips and words were never intended for causal use in everyday life – they have always been meant to be used deliberately and only on a formal way in Lodge. It is therefore wrong to describe them as recognition signals. Indeed, calling then such simply perpetuates the myth.”

In a recent letter, the Grand Secretary stated as follows:

“With hindsight, it would have been better if I had said that the Masonic handshake is a myth, because we all know that the grip or token is not intended for everyday use; it may legitimately be used in our ceremonies and also as a means of Freemason proving himself when visiting a Lodge where he is not known (his Grand Lodge Certificate not being of itself sufficient for that purpose). Our members are not encouraged, contrary to popular belief, to use it in ordinary – let alone business – life; indeed they are positively discouraged from using it. It is important to our strategy that this is understood both by our members and the public at large.”

Brethren, there is no Masonic Handshake. Our grips are exclusively for use in our ceremonies. Let us all leave them there.

Finally, I am grateful to the District Grand Director of Ceremonies and his team for the very efficient ceremony we have had this afternoon. I also thank, the President of the Board of General Purposes, on this his first outing in that capacity, the District Grand Secretary and his staff and the District Grand Stewards Lodge for their very hard work in order to ensure the success of this Communication.

Walter H. Scott
District Grand Master of Jamaica &
The Cayman Islands
28 July, 2012

Freemasonry: a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.