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 January 22, 2011


I am delighted to extend a hearty Jamaican and Caymanian welcome to you all, to this the January Communication of the District.  Our collective delight is enhanced by your presence here in such significant numbers.  I am, and no doubt you also, are thrilled by the presence of so many distinguished and illustrious visitors, both from home and from abroad.  We in this District are deeply honoured and privileged to have as our very special guests:

  • R.W. Bro. Olorogun Moses Taiga, the District Grand Master of Nigeria, who along with one of his  Assistant District Grand Masters W. Bro. Chief Gabriel Osakwe and two other brethren have taken the time, effort and considerable expense to be with us today.  A lot will be said of them later this evening.
  • R.W. Bro. James Randolph Bain, the District Grand Master of the Bahamas and Turks, a very good friend of this District.

We continue to be gratified by the presence of Rulers from our sister Constitutions in this District and in that regard, I offer a very special welcome to:

  • R. W. Bro. Dr. Derrick V. McKoy the Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Jamaica and the Bahamas, his Rulers and other members his delegation.
  • Bro. Keith Scott Past Depute District Grand Master of the District Grand Lodge of Jamaica (Scottish Constitution) and his deputation.

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

At our communication in January 2010 I launched an appeal to raise funds for our Brethren in Haiti in particular and the people of Haiti in general who had suffered loss by virtue of the devastating earthquake earlier that month.  In reporting to you on this issue, I must advise that through the selfless generosity of you, my Brethren, we raised the sum of US$20,000.00 for this project.  Our Brethren in the Districts of the Bahamas and Turks, and Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean also raised substantial sums from the Brethren in those Districts to donate to the Haitian cause.  Alas, neither our Brethren in this region, nor ourselves were able to distribute the sums collected on a timely basis.  The reason for this, simple as it is, is a poignant reminder of the effect of the earthquake.

The Rulers of the recognized Grand Lodge of Haiti though identified have not been found able to satisfy, effectively and in accordance with our fiduciary responsibilities, the due diligence requirements necessary to distribute the sums collected.

On 29 October 2010 the conference of District Grand Masters of the Caribbean and Western Atlantic was held in Barbados.  The Pro Grand Master, M.W. Bro Peter Lowndes and the Grand Secretary were both in attendance.  A decision was taken, that the sums collected for the assistance of Haiti, may be distributed through the Salvation Army.  Our Brethren in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean have done so.  Our President of the Board of Benevolence W. Bro. Michael Fennell is arranging for the same to be done in this District.   The full sum collected, along with the interest accrued thereon at the date of distribution, will be disbursed through this medium.

I am also pleased to advise that at the conference in Barbados the Grand Inspector of Montreal and Halifax, which is the only outpost of Freemasonry on the continent of North America, has been accepted as a full member of our regional grouping.

This evening I was pleased to appoint the first District Grand Mentor in this District.  His role will be administrative.  He will, in accordance with the blue print or template established by United Grand Lodge of England, oversee the implementation of the mentoring scheme in this District.  He will manage those who, in due course, after Grand Lodge has given its approval to the Districts, will be appointed as Lodge Mentors.  Perhaps the most user friendly description of Masonic mentoring which I have seen is in the Working Party Report on mentoring produced for Grand Lodge.   The following is quoted verbatim:

“At the start of the Initiation Ceremony the candidate is told that he can “follow your leader with a firm but humble confidence“ and so begins a symbolical journey from darkness to light, from ignorance to Masonic knowledge.  The work of the Mentor is to be the new mason’s guide, leader and coach once the ceremony has finished – to explain not only the workings, traditions and organization of our institution, but also to lift the veil of allegory and reveal the meaning behind the symbols so that the new mason can enjoy and understand the organization that he has joined.  Thus the whole focus of Masonic mentoring is to enable the new mason to grow in knowledge, involvement and confidence in masonry so that he can benefit from and enjoy his membership”  

W. Bro. Laurie Ventour has his work cut out for him. He will hit the ground running and already a Workshop on Mentoring has been scheduled for 26 March, 2011. His task will be challenging, but we entertain no doubt that his future conduct in this office will be such as to merit the esteem and approbation of you, my Brethren.

Brethren, I am a believer and adherent of formality and the utilization of formal structures.  I am permitted by virtue of my Patent of Office, the Book of Constitutions and the By-Laws of this District to make a large number of discretionary appointments, decisions and acts.  As I, like my predecessors, am painfully aware of my fallibility, I rely on the advice of a number of senior brethren in arriving at the decisions which have to be made in this regard in the best interest of the Craft in this District.

The garnering of advice has traditionally been done in an informal and ad hoc manner.  I propose to change this approach.  Accordingly, as of today, I have constituted a body to be known as the District Grand Master’s Council. It will consist of fifteen (15) senior brethren appointed by me and will be charged to provide me with advice and recommendation on inter alia, all discretionary appointments and other acts to be carried out by me.  It will be chaired by the Deputy District Grand Master (Pro Tem) and will meet at least twice per year in May and September.  It is not a new concept and is modeled on the Grand Masters Council, of the United Grand Lodge of England which is chaired by Pro Grand Master and which currently includes illustrious brethren such as:

  • M.W. The Marquess of Northampton, a Past Pro Grand Master.
  • R.W. Bro. Ian Ross Bryce a Past Deputy Grand Master, and
  • R. W. Bro. The Rt. Hon. The Earl Cadogan also a Past Deputy Grand Master.
  • R.W.Bro. The Rt. Hon. The earl of Eglinton and Winton, a Past Assistant Grand Master,
  • R.W.Bro. Jonathon Spence, the Deputy Grand Master,
  • R.W.Bro. David Williamson, the Assistant Grand Master and others.

The full list of Brethren appointed to this Council will be published on our web site as of Monday.

Brethren, today I have had the very great pleasure to appoint or to promote a number of you.  I am aware, of the great joy, pride and happiness which you feel and I offer to you my sincere congratulations.  No doubt the appointment or promotion has been the result of good work done in the past and is also a preview of the hard work to come.  Any appointment to District Grand Rank is to be treasured and valued and is not to be taken as an eventuality.

This evening W. Bro. K. Orrin Barrow has retired as our Director of Ceremonies.   He has been our Director of Ceremonies since the 25th day of June 1992.  He has by virtue of hard work, dedication, application, a keen eye for detail, a no nonsense approach to his work and very great pride in doing excellent work, enabled this District to have perfect ceremonies.  “Headmaster” as he is affectionately but fearfully called by some of us, has been an innovator, so much so that even Grand Lodge has adopted some of his innovations.  This truly grand icon of Jamaica Freemasonry will be missed from office, but we are assured that his successor in office and this District will find that reliance on his co-operation and assistance will not be misplaced.  On a further occasion, we in this District will mount an appropriate and worthy tribute in his honour.

Two of the quiet unsung stalwarts of the District, W. Bros.  Dennis Goldson and Edward Shoucair have retired from the Board of General Purposes and the Board of Benevolence respectively this afternoon.  On your behalf I extend to them the grateful thanks of this District for their dedication, fidelity, generosity of time and advice over these several years.

Finally, I thank the District Grand Director of Ceremonies and his team for the very efficient ceremony we have had today.  I also thank the District Grand Secretary and his staff, the District Grand Stewards Lodge and last but not least the President of the Board of General Purposes for their very hard work in order to ensure the success of the Communication.

Walter H. Scott
District Grand Master of Jamaica &
The Cayman Islands
22 January, 2011

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