Message from RW Bro Walter H. Scott
Address to Communication of District Grand Lodge of Jamaica and The Cayman Islands
on January 28, 2017
It is with very great pleasure that I extend a hearty welcome to this, the 2017 Annual Investiture Communication of our District, as well as the very best wishes of my wife and I for a very healthy, happy and rewarding New Year. I am delighted to see so many of you here as evidence of your continued commitment to the Craft in this District.
As a District, we continue to be honoured and privileged to have as our special guests:
- RW Bro. James Randolph Bain, the District Grand Master of the District Grand Lodge of the Bahamas & Turks and R. W. Bro. Peter Cole, the immediate Past District Grand Master of that District.
- RW Bro. Peter Stuart, the Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Jamaica and the Bahamas and his delegation.
- Bro. Col. Lemuel Lindo, the District Grand Master of the District Grand Lodge of Jamaica, who is accompanied by Bro. Errol Alberga who by next week this time will have been installed as the District Grand Master of the aforesaid District, and who are accompanied by office bearers of their District.
- RW Bro Bruce Palanik, a Past District Deputy Grand Master of the grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario and members of his Grand Lodge
Please join me in giving a very special welcome to R.W. Bro. Afeef Lazarus, our much beloved Past District Grand Master.
Brethren, we have just had an absolutely wonderful presentation from R.W. Bro. Peter Cole, the Past District Grand Master of the District Grand Lodge of the Bahamas & Turks. We are to consider ourselves truly blessed and chosen to have been the beneficiaries of such a splendid presentation. Please join me in generously thanking him for such a tremendous presentation. .
Brethren, in late January last year, members of my Council and I hosted most of the brethren initiated during 2015 and their wives to a splendid dinner at the Alhambra Hotel. This afforded these very young masons to sit with, dine and interact with the senior brethren of the District and their wives. I am led to believe that not only was it thoroughly enjoyed by all of these brethren and their wives, but that they benefited from it. A similar dinner was held in Grand Cayman last June for the initiates resident in the Cayman Islands with a similar result. Consequently, this will become a staple on our masonic calendar and will be held each year on the Friday following the January Communication of the District. We look forward to seeing the 2016 initiates and their wives at this year’s dinner. In 2016 we continued to grow our numbers albeit not at the record breaking pace of 2015. Last year there were 36 initiates whilst in 2015 there was a whopping 61 new initiates. These new initiates will only become long term committed members of the Craft with continued mentoring under the auspices of the District’s formal mentorship programme.
This is perhaps an appropriate segway to the retirement of W. Bro. Laurence Ventour as the District Grand Mentor. W. Bro. Ventour was the first District Grand Mentor. He has served with Distinction over the past three (3) years. He developed the Mentor’s Handbook and the Modules in the three (3) Degrees. These are all unique to this District and have become a point of reference for several Districts and Provinces overseas. The originality of his work is such that your District has moved to establish the copyright for this work created by him. He has become the oracle across a lot of the Lodges which exist under the canopy of United Grand Lodge of England on mentorship. We will miss him terribly, but we are confident that not only has he trained his successor, but that he will be available to provide guidance for him, if it is required. Please join me in showing our sincere appreciation for w. Bro. Ventour for all that he has done for this District.
W. Bro. Lyndon Roy Haynes has this evening retired as the District Grand Almoner. He has served for 12 wonderful glorious years. An activist Almoner, he ferreted out information on the health & welfare of the District Grand officers and their families (Past & Present) and on the brethren generally and transmitted the same to me and before me to R.W. Bro. Lazarus. He visited the sick & the shut –in on my behalf. He attended scores of funerals as my official representative. My wife and I have become accustomed to the telephone ringing somewhere between 7.30 to 8.00 am. We merely look at each other and say “That’s Roy”, and so it would be, with his sometimes daily reports on the welfare of the brethren & their families. A man of indomitable will and courage he battled on throughout and successfully conquered disease, all the while fulfilling his duties to the District. He has been a tower of strength to me and we in this District have been blessed to have had such a wonderful mason as our Almoner. Brethren, please join me in saluting W. Bro. Haynes, my friend and my Brother upon his retirement.
Brethren, this evening it has once again pleased me, upon the recommendation of the District Grand Master’s Council, to have appointed to or promoted in District Grand Rank a number of you. As I have said in the past, and repeat only for emphasis, these appointments or promotions are merely an earnest of your future exertions. Continued very hard work is both expected and demanded of you both in the District and in your several Lodges.
Brethren, this is a really very special year for this District. In May, we will host the Regional Celebrations for the Tercentenary Celebrations of United Grand Lodge of England. A very High Ruler from United Grand Lodge of England will be in attendance. We will be hosts to the brethren and their wives from the Districts of The Bahamas & Turks, Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Bermuda, Guyana & Trinidad & Tobago. We also expect attendees from the Inspectorate of Montreal & Halifax and from the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario and the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Ontario, Canada. I also rather suspect that we will also have some visitors from the districts of Nigeria & Ghana.
A number of points need to be made.
- Firstly, we have to put on such a first class event that it will be long remembered.
- Secondly, we, the members of this District need to turn out in large numbers at all of the events and in particular at the Main Commemorative meeting on Saturday 27 May, 2017 and for the Banquet which follows.
- Thirdly, we will need the support and assistance of you, the brethren of the District both to act as volunteers and chaperones for our overseas visitors, but also for sponsorship.
All of the information which you may need is available on the District’s website along with the sole method of registration for the conference and of paying the fees for registration and attendance at the various functions. On the first evening of the Celebrations we will be launching the book “Masonic Jamaica & the Cayman Islands” an original work by the celebrated historian and author Mrs Jackie Ranston. There will be an Academic Conference on the Friday and Saturday morning with some of the greatest academic and masonic authors on both sides of the Atlantic participating. Concurrently, this District will host the Annual Meeting of District Grand Masters of the Caribbean & Western Atlantic. There will be a wonderful celebration of Jamaican culture, food & drink at a Jamaica Night Party on the Friday night. Brethren, I implore you all to turn out in huge numbers. This District will never again in our lifetime see any masonic event such as this. Naturally, our Irish & Scottish are also invited to register, to attend and to enjoy the festivities of this very unique event.
In July 2017 at the Half-Yearly Communication, which will be held here at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, we will be celebrating the 275th Anniversary of the Appointment of the first Provincial Grand Master for Jamaica. Additionally, at this Communication we will be awarding six (6) Caribbean Jewels of Merit to six outstanding and truly deserving Brethren of this District. We have decided to keep these Jewels really special and they will be awarded only every twenty-five years and will each be a dead-man’s Jewel.
There is an awful lot of hard work to be done. We have much to do but it can be done. I am reminded of the words of Sir Winston Churchill at his first address on 13 May 1940 in Parliament upon being appointed Prime Minister
"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind…………. You ask what is our aim. I can answer in one word. Victory ".
In our case it is Success!
Brethren, last January I spoke to you on the need for the fund of Benevolence to radically improve its capital if it is to meet current needs. Pursuant to this, the District Board of Benevolence has developed a unique insurance policy which will include Group Health & Group Life cover as well as a cash component for those under 65 years and a funeral grant for those over 65 years. It can only work if you, the brethren of the District subscribe to the plan. In these days, there can never be too much insurance cover. The President of the District Board of Benevolence and his team will be visiting all of the several lodges to explain the product and the manner in which it will work.
Brethren, I hope that this feast of masonic education, fraternal harmony and love has been to the satisfaction of all. It is now time to move from labour to refreshment
Brethren, please assist me in thanking the Deputy District Grand Director of Ceremonies and his team for conducting our very efficient ceremonies today; the District Grand Secretary and his staff for organising this superb meeting; and the District Grand Stewards Lodge for its continued hard work in arranging the room for this meeting and the Banquet which follows.
Walter H. Scott, Q.C.
District Grand Master of Jamaica &
The Cayman Islands
28 January 2017
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