As narrated by Gabriel J. Christian
Photo Credit: Dominica News Online
Originally published November 20th, 2016
When I entered the Dominica Grammar School in 1972 one of my closest friends was one Lynton Scotland of St. Joseph. Our bonds may have been tight since my mother Alberta Christian, nee John Baptiste was a proud daughter of St. Joseph. Or it may have been that we grew close as we usually accompanied the “DGS Flight Club”made up of first form students such as Mark Frampton, Michael Garraway, David Armour, John “Poppy” Fingal, Freddie Mondesire, and Peter Garraway to the Dominica Botanic Gardens where they would allow me to fly the gas operated model planes they owned. Later, Lynton bought a yellow and blue model plane from one of the club members who were primarily from the upper echelons of Roseau society. I had no plane myself..
Lynton, like many in the DGS Flight Club, went on to an illustrious career in engineering, business and leadership in community service. One day while visiting with Lynton, I saw about a dozen small rocket projectiles lined up on a shelf in his library. When I queried him on that amazing collection, he smiled and told me that the solid rocket fuel for those projectiles was manufactured by Hercules Corporation, where he previously worked as a senior process engineer. I was awed that my classmate had moved up from being a member of the DGS Flight Club to becoming a prominent engineer at an eminent US science based corporation involved in rocket fuel production. Indeed, Lynton had rocketed to success at the top rungs of professional accomplishment.
At a time when our Caribbean and overseas communities need role models, Lynton Scotland’s exemplary life is worthy of recalling for future generations. Therefore, on the weekend before Thanksgiving 2016, I called Lynton to get his story. A shy and unassuming man, Lynton initially demurred; however, I insisted. So, on a balmy fall morning, before he took his customary bike ride along the gently rolling wooded pathways of Delaware where the foliage is turning from green to splendid hues of red, orange and yellow, he opened and spoke to me. This is his reflection:
I was born in St. Joseph to Crecy Scotland and Charmain Jno-Charles Scotland. I was a student at the St. Joseph Government School where the famous cricketer/teacher Mr. Kaleb Laurent and Mrs. Isaiah Thomas prepared me for the Common Entrance Exam. St. Joe in those days was a dynamic village of fisher folk and peasant farmers. We had greats in our community such as farmers Vanoulst John Charles (my uncle), Clem Ferreira and Alvin Arman trading. We gave the world the famous Grammacks band led by the late Jefferson Joseph, Curvin Serrant, Alixson John Baptiste, Anthony George, Henson Rodney, Mackie Prosper, George Thomas and Clement, with “Kaytoe” Ferreira as manager. My other siblings, Ashby, Glen, Bert, Daisy Gary and Myrtle provided the warm comfort of a God-fearing home where we were taught to worship regularly in the tradition of our Christian faith and love our neighbors like ourselves.
We had a great sense of community then. There were frequent village fairs and cricket matches on the savanna at St. Joseph where people came from all over. In the St. Joe of my day incidents of crime were so low, as to be practically non-existent, and neighbors shared the little they had with each other in the spirit of Koudmen or community self-help.
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