Message from RW Bro Walter H. Scott
Address to Communication of District Grand Lodge of Jamaica and The Cayman Islands
on July 23, 2011
I am delighted to extend a heart felt Jamaican and Caymanian welcome to you all. As you all know the July Communication of the District is our business meeting. Therefore, our delight in welcoming you all is enhanced by your presence here in such significant numbers.
We in this District are 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 and the Presidents of his Boards of General Purposes and Benevolence.
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. derrick V. McKoy the Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Jamaica and the Bahamas, and other members of his delegation.
- Bro. Lloyd Moore, 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, the Past District Grand Master.
Brethren, since our last Communication in January, it has pleased the M.W. the Grand Master to confer the rank of Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies on W. Bro. I.N. “Mitch” Stephenson. We all know the very hard and able work that he has done and continues to do as the District Grand Treasurer. Please join with me in not only giving him our heartiest congratulations, but also in reminding him that this appointment is only “an earnest of his future exertions”
Brethren, you all are aware of how dear the University Scheme is to my heart. I am pleased to report to you that the members of the University Lodge of the West Indies voted in open Lodge for their Lodge to become a member of the Scheme. As you are aware, the President of the University Scheme is RW Bro. David Kenneth Williamson, the Assistant Grand Master. In May of this year he wrote a letter containing the following:
“At the Annual Investiture of Grand Lodge last month, I was delighted to hear from your District Grand Master, RW Bro. Walter H. Scott, that University Lodge of the West Indies No. 7128 voted unanimously on a Resolution to participate in the Universities Scheme, and that he supports your application to do so. It is therefore with very great pleasure that I write to welcome you to our ever growing group of, what is now forty-four lodges! It has always been my objective that the benefits of the Schemes should be enjoyed and supported by our Districts and you are the very first Lodge from overseas to apply to participate. I am delighted that you feel able to support the objectives of the Scheme and I know your District Grand Master shares my enthusiasm.
May I wish you and the Lodge every success within the Scheme, and I look forward to hearing of your future successes. I also hope that it may be possible to visit you sometime in the future.”
Brethren, I urge you all to give your full support to the University Lodge of the West Indies in this endeavour so that the Scheme in this District may very quickly grow and develop into a world leading Scheme.
As you will recall at our Communication on 22 January 2011, I advised that the decision had been taken to distribute our Haiti Relief Funds through the Salvation Army. I am pleased to advise that our contribution of US$26,959.14 has been faithfully given to the Salvation Army and was very graciously and thankfully received. I am advised by the Envoy of the Salvation Army in Jamaica, that all of the said sum was sent directly to Haiti to be used in the charitable and relief work in that country. The Salvation Army does not make any deductions whatsoever for administrative purposes. It may be of interest to you Brethren that the Salvation Army has sixty three (63) stations in Haiti, forty nine (49) schools and amongst other things supports over 10,000 children in its several homes.
On the matter of Charity and Benevolence, I take this opportunity to especially welcome W. Bro. Les Hutchinson the CEO of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys. The RMTGB is one of the four (4) central charities of United Grand Lodge of England and is an integral part of the Freemasonry Cares Campaign, of which you have just had a most stimulating presentation by W. Bro. Hutchinson. On your behalf, I convey to him our sincere gratitude for taking the time out of his very busy schedule to attend our Communication and to deliver both this presentation, and that at the workshop for Almoners and Charity Stewards earlier this morning.
Brethren, you are also aware that the Banquet which follows this Communication is the Festival Banquet. The proceeds of this year’s Festival, by the Kingston College Lodge and the Arawak Lodge 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.
You all know the very excellent work that it does. The capital Fund of the Board of Benevolence, at 31 March, 2011 was approximately US$401,000.00. Our obligation is to increase it to the target previously set of US$1.0 Million by 2020. This target itself, in all likelihood, may be revised upwards, as the precipitous decline in real interest rates has resulted in a smaller available pool of interest and investment income for benevolent works.
With your continued generous help and assistance this will be achieved, for the benefit of you Brethren and your connections.
Brethren, you have all been enjoying the refurbished and renovated facilities at our building at Barbados Avenue. We are now able to host multiple meetings and Festive Boards simultaneously. The entire exercise cost us approximately J$34 Million.
Of this sum we funded J$32 Million out of our own cash resources and borrowed J$2.0 M. The borrowed sum has already been repaid. We are again in surplus. We have been able to achieve all of this because of the foresight of some of our Brethren who appreciated that for English Freemasonry to thrive in this District, the business side of Freemasonry had to be looked after.
Freemasons Association Jamaica Limited (FMAJ) is the entity through which our commercial activities take place. We earn a not inconsequential rental income from our properties at Barbados Avenue and Grenada Way (The Companies Office Building). Arising out of the effort of the FMAJ Board of Directors, led for the last three (3) decades and more by W. Bro. The Hon. Dennis Lalor O.J, we have the enviable situation of having a full time District Grand Secretary with a staff and attendant offices.
As we continue to grow, the need for additional human resources to manage our business increases. In order to meet those increasing demands, we have decided to utilize the open lot of land to the rear of both the Barbados Avenue and Grenada Way properties to construct a multi storey car park. This car park when completed will be income earning for us during the days (there is a tremendous shortage of parking spaces in the New Kingston Business District), and will provide parking facilities for the Brethren at night. It is envisioned that we will end up with about 75 parking slots. This additional business venture will be undertaken through FMAJ. Initial drawings have already been done.
Brethren, the business of English Freemasonry in Jamaica is a multi million dollar business. Between our Commercial activities through FMAJ, our Investment activities through Freemasons Trust and our charitable events through the District Board of Benevolence, nearly a Half a Billion Dollars of assets are managed. This could not be done without the tremendous sacrifice of the Boards of Directors of all of these entities whose members give of their time, energy, experience and expertise on a voluntary basis.
Please join me Brethren in expressing our heart felt gratitude to these Brethren.
Numbered amongst these stalwarts, is W. Bro. D.P.A Goldson who for decades has been a cornerstone of FMAJ and Freemasons Trust. He has recently retired from these Boards and on behalf of grateful District I convey to him our gratitude and our appreciation for all of his tireless work on our behalf.
Brethren, today we have honoured one of our members who has given tirelessly to the cause of English Freemasonry for over 60 years. I speak of W. Bro. Frank Whittaker. He is this year’s recipient of the Certificate of Service to Freemasonry. W. Bro. Whittaker who was born on 21February 1919, was initiated in the Ewing Lodge in 1950 and became its Master in 1959. Before I was born. He was appointed District Senior Grand Warden in 1969. W. Bro. Frank whose beloved wife Iris, died a few weeks ago, has been the living embodiment of all that is and can be good with Freemasonry.
Brethren, we are about to embark on our annual summer break. I wish for you all a happy and relaxed summer time with sufficient rest to enable us to resume our labours in September fully refreshed and reinvigorated.
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 lastly, but not least, the President of the Board of General Purposes 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
23 July, 2011
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