Message from RW Bro Walter Scott
Address to District Grand Lodge of Jamaica
and The Cayman Islands Communication
on January 23, 2010
I extend a hearty welcome to you, to this the January Communication of the District. I am thrilled to see you here in such significant numbers. I sense the joy, happiness and pride amongst you in general and in particular amongst those of you who have been appointed or promoted to office today. I offer you my sincere congratulations. It is no doubt the result of hard work and dedication, but is not the culmination thereof. On the contrary, it is the beginning thereof as it really is "AN EARNEST OF YOUR FUTURE EXERTIONS".
I also welcome our distinguished visiting Brethren. In particular I welcome:
- R.W. Right Rev. Bro Alfred Reid The Provincial Deputy Grand Master and R.W. Bro. Peter Stuart, The Provincial Assistant Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Jamaica and the Bahamas and their delegation.
- Bro. Keith Scott Past Depute District Grand Master of The District Grand Lodge of Jamaica (Scottish Constitution) and his deputation.
And a very special welcome to our brethren from the Cayman Islands, who though members of this district are very dear to us because of their attendance in such numbers from so far away.
Brethren, permit me also to use this opportunity to thank all of you who accompanied me to Cuba on the occasion of the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Grand Lodge of Cuba. Your attendance in such large numbers, our delegation was 57 strong, caused us to have the largest overseas delegation to this event. Our Cuban Brethren were thrilled at our attendance in such large numbers and have formally communicated this to us.
On December 9, 2009 I had the great honour and privilege of attending the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge as the representative of this District. The Most Worshipful the Pro Grand Master who presided at the Quarterly Communication publicly commended this District on having the largest delegation at the Anniversary celebrations of the Grand Lodge of Cuba.
The Most Worshipful the Pro Grand Master also formally announced that the Justice Minister in the United Kingdom has announced that "Judges and other members of the judicial system no longer have to declare that they are Freemasons". Whilst this has never been an issue in this District, its significance in our struggles with our detractors is not to be overlooked by us.
United Grand Lodge of England at its meeting on December 9, 2009 formally recognized the Grand Lodge of Haiti and the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Ontario in Canada. In respect of the latter, a small delegation of six Brethren led by the Immediate Past Grand Master, M.W. Bro. Clive Barnes and including the Deputy Grand Master R.W. Bro. Horace Gooden attended the Installation meeting of the Friendly Lodge No. 383 last Saturday. As most the delegation had Jamaican roots they were particularly thrilled to be finally able to meet and commune with their Jamaican Brethren. In respect of the former we had hoped to send an expeditionary delegation to Haiti later this year, our close Caribbean neighbours. Regrettably this will not take place this year. Brethren, you all have seen the absolutely horrible and devastating photos and newscopy of the effects of the recent earthquake in Haiti. As our closest neighbour to the East, and as the Grand Lodge of Haiti is the most recently recognized member of our Caribbean Masonic family we are obliged to give as much aid and assistance as we can. Certainly within the length of our cable tow. The District has committed itself to sending a minimum of US$10,000.00 to assist in the post earthquake restoration process. An appeal has been launched amongst the Lodges and in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Already the sum of US$7,000.00 has been collected. The sum of US$10,000.00 is a minimum threshold set by the District. We must and I dare say, will substantially exceed that sum. On January 14, 2010 the Grand Charity paid over the sum of £30,000.00 to the British Red Cross as an emergency grant.
In the ceremony of initiation the candidate is told:
"should you at any further period meet a Brother in distressed circumstances who might solicit your assistance, you will remember the particular moment you were received into Masonry, poor and penniless and cheerfully embrace the opportunity of practicing that virtue you have professed to admire"
Brethren, that virtue which we have all professed to admire is CHARITY.There can be no doubt that the triple assaults of the world recession, the multi billion dollar tax packages and a persistent anemic economy will reduce some of our number to "the lowest ebb of poverty and distress".
Our challenge, or rather our solemn duty, is to assist those of our Brethren in such calamitous misfortune. Towards this end, a conference of Almoners, Charity Stewards, Worshipful Masters along with the Board of Benevolence and the Rulers will be held on February 27, 2010 to devise the appropriate collective strategies and methods of delivering assistance to our Brethren in need. That apart, each one of you who, in some small measure, is able to provide relief to a needy Brother is obliged to do so. Nothing more, nothing less.
At my inaugural address to you in July 2009 I spoke about the prospect of this District launching its own University Scheme. I am pleased to report that the Board of General Purposes has set up a small working committee to examine the University Scheme as it currently operates in England and to make recommendations for the launch of our own Jamaican and Caymanian Scheme. It is hoped to launch the Scheme in September 2010.
Brethren, this evening W. Bros. Carlton Williams and Maurice Stoppi have retired from the Board of General Purposes to which they have given yeoman service. Their contributions to Freemasonry in this District cannot be overstated nor ignored. Similarly, we are obliged to recognize W. Bro. C.K.O Parkins who retired from the Board of Benevolence after giving nineteen (19) years service to it. Let us not forget!
Brethren, the modern history of English Freemasonry in Jamaica, that is over the last fifty (50) years is characterized by the leadership of great Brethren R.W. Bro. Dr. Francis Hadden Bowen, R. W. Bro. Dr. Aubrey Shervington Jacobs and R.W. Bro. Afeef Assad Lazarus.
Let us praise famous men while they live!
The legacy of harmony, happiness, growth, financial stability, pride and respect which R.W.Bro. Afeef Lazarus has left for us on his retirement is the basis for our grateful thanks. We will spend some time today honouring this icon of Jamaican Freemasonry and the gifts which we will give to him, though paling in comparison to the work which he carried out on our behalf, and the legacy which he left, we give with all the love, gratitude and undying respect which we have in our power to give.
Finally, I thank the District Grand Director of Ceremonies and his team for the very efficient ceremony we have had today. Special thanks must go out to W. Bro. Winston Wright for all the hard work he continues to put out in producing the Newsletter. I also thank the District Grand Secretary and his staff, the District Grand Stewards' Lodge and lastly but not least the President of the Board of General Purposes for the very hard work they have all done in order to ensure the success of the Communication.
Walter H. Scott
District Grand Master of Jamaica &
The Cayman Islands
23 January, 2010
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