MEGS Address to District Grand Chapter of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands Convocation on 25 July 2015


You would not possibly understand the tremendous pleasure I take in welcoming you this afternoon to this the July 2015 Convocation of the District, at the Masonic Building, Davis Avenue, in the city of Montego Bay. It is an absolute delight to see so many of you here at the business meeting of the District outside of Kingston. The dream of having Half-yearly convocation outside of Kingston has once again been realised.

Companions, on your behalf I welcome our most distinguished visiting Companions and in particular I welcome:

  • M.E. Comp Douglas Murray , the Depute Grand Superintendent of Scottish Royal Arch Masonry in Jamaica and his deputation, and
  • M.E. Companion Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin the Grand Superintendent of Irish Royal Arch Masonry for Jamaica.

I continue to be exceedingly pleased that E. Comp Afeef Lazarus, the Immediate Past Grand Superintendent, regularly attends our meetings and I ask you to give him a hearty welcome.

Companions, on 30 April 2014 it pleased the Most Excellent First Grand Principal to promote E. Comp. The Hon. Justice Patrick A. Brooks to the rank of P.G.SwdB. and E. Comp.Harding O. Watler to the rank of P.A.G.Soj., and to appoint E. Comps. Peter C. Crosswell and Carlton A. Stephen to the Ranks of P.G.StB & P.A.G.D.C. respectively. The 7 Companions and I who were present at the Investiture meeting wore non-stop smiles of pleasure at hearing the names of these Companions being read out by the Grand Scribe Ezra in Grand Chapter

Companions, the dream of our District having the District Grand Stewards Chapter of Jamaica & The Cayman Islands No 9795 has been realised. On 29 June, 2015 I had the distinct honour and privilege of being the Consecrating Officer at the Consecration and dedication of the chapter and of installing its first Zerubbabel. I wish to thank the huge number of Companions who attended the meeting for supporting Royal Arch Masonry in the District in such an awesome manner. We owe E. Comp. James R. Bain, the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent of the District Grand Chapter of the Bahamas & Turks, for attending at his own expense to be the Consecrating Haggai and for E. Comp. Afeef Lazarus Consecrating Joshua, who though retired, for his unfailing support for the District. Those Companions who missed it will have to wait for another masonic generation before they may be able to witness another such ceremony.

The Chapter has hit the ground running and just last week had its first regular meeting at which the officers for the next administrative year were elected. I have tasked it to do the Demonstration of the Ceremony of the Passing of the Veils and I am assured by its Principals that this will be done. I urge the Companions of the several Chapters to invite it to do demonstrations of the Aldersgate ritual at one of their Convocations over the course of the next 24 months.

At the Communication in January of this year I announced that I would have been assigning a Grand Officer to attend at each of the Chapters on my behalf and to give general, gentle, un-obtrusive superintendence to the respective chapters on my behalf. I have received reports on these assignments and I must state publicly, in open Chapter, how pleased I am at the improvement in ritual work in the several Chapters.

Companions, I wish for you to be justifiably proud of your District. Supreme Grand Chapter has 30 Districts. Of that number, as at 15 July, 2015, your District was the fourth largest with 547 Companions in 13 Chapters. The Districts of the Eastern Archipelago, South Africa North and Madras with 869, 804 and 561 Companions respectively were the three largest Districts. Interestingly, they have 19, 41 and 15 Chapters respectively. Even more interestingly, the per-centage of masons who are Companions in the Holy Royal Arch in these Districts is as follows:

  • Eastern Archipelago 47.02.
  • South Africa North 41.3.
  • Madras 52.47.
  • Jamaica & the Cayman Islands 52.39.

This means that as a percentage of the Craft we are the second largest Holy Royal Arch District. The District of East Africa with 1935 masons has only 498 Companions! As at 15 July, 2015, the Records of Grand Lodge had us with 1044 members. The potential for increased membership in the Holy Royal Arch in our District is therefore quite huge.

An analysis of the data for this District for 2014, the reports of the District Grand Scribe Ezra and those of my Grand Officers reveals that the biggest challenge that the Holy Royal Arch faces at this time is to increase the attendance levels of Companions at regular Convocations. Last year the average attendance across the District was an anaemic 38%. There were only 2 Chapters that had an attendance rate of 50% and better and 3 averaged fewer than 35%. We have work ahead of us but I am convinced that with your cooperation, the assistance of the District Grand Stewards Chapter and the superintendence of the Grand Officers, the District will achieve not only a larger absolute number of members, but as importantly, larger numbers of companions regularly attending their Convocations with better and better ritual work being performed.

On another note, I am to inform you that the Second Grand Principal, M.E. Companion George Pippon Francis will retire as such on the 10th day of November, 2015. He will be succeeded by E. Comp. Russell Race who is currently the Metropolitan Grand Superintendent. E. Comp. Race, who will retire as both Metropolitan Grand Superintendent and Metropolitan Grand Master on 20 October, 2015, will be installed on 11 November 2015 at the meeting of Supreme Grand Chapter.

Finally, Companions, on your behalf I convey our grateful thanks and gratitude to the District Grand Scribe Ezra and his team for their very hard work in arranging this meeting and to the District Grand Director of Ceremonies and his team for our very efficient ceremony.

Walter H. Scott, Q.C.
Most Excellent Grand Superintendent
In and Over Jamaica and The Cayman Islands
25 July, 2015

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