TRIBUTE TO SIR PAUL SCOON 1935-2013

TRIBUTE TO SIR PAUL GODWIN SCOON 1935-2013

bp1 One lesson from a death is that we all will die (ordinarily we know not when). Another is that death provides an opportunity to reflect on how our relationships with the deceased (while still alive), may have affected out thinking and lives. Underneath all this is the realization that we in life cross-influence each other, derived as we are from the same Source. Our latest death-news is that Sir Paul G. Scoon has “passed away”. We use many expressions to describe death. We say: “passed away”; “passed”; “we have lost”; “is deceased”; etc. I like the terms “passed” and “gone through” as these suggest passing into another realm, we all hope, a higher one.

Incidentally, we are ‘dieing’ from birth, and through life we continue (or are urged to) to die to many things – ego; pride; allurements; attachments, and eventually to our physical bodies. Exhortations in this regard must be to our ‘Higher Self’, which, (I think) in the end departs a physical body now unable to contain it; and that Higher Self goes ‘beyond the moon’ for a change of garment. I think Sir Paul has ‘gone beyond the moon’, and as I wish him peace there, I reflect on my relationships with him, which have had a profound effect on my personal development and life.

To me and my class colleagues, Paul Scoon was – Teacher; Hostel Master; Scholar; and all round “GOOD MAN”. I first met Paul Scoon, English Teacher, in 1953 in Form 2a at the GBSS, and became acquainted with his unique manner of speaking – precise; up in the head; deep; extended wordings (gooood for good). Anyone familiar with Sir Paul can imagine his recital of this poem;

Slowly, silently, now the moon

Walks the night in her silvery shoon

This way and that she peers and sees

Silvery stars upon silvery seas

I always remember this verse as my introduction to English ‘Alliteration’. And there are a lot more things, derived from Paul Scoon, which have become part of me.

Paul Scoon was an alumnus of the Grenada Boys Secondary School (GBSS), and a GBSS Hostel Boy before me. The latter experience placed him in good stead for dealing with the idiosyncrasies of Hostel Boys, and with Hostel culture. My information was that he was a bright student, and my interactions with him told me that he was a ‘thinking man” with a sharp mind. Quick-witted, at times sarcastic (but never brutally so), his chuckle and manner allowed him access to King (or Queen) and beggar alike; and so he used them. And as a Hostel Boy, I observed and I learnt.

Paul Scoon was a leader; he led by example, by his devotion to duty as Hostel Master and as Governor General of Grenada. He led scores of Hostel Boys, including myself, with coolness and balance. He was stern when necessary, though never to impose himself and his position; he was also fair. He taught us; and he accepted that we also taught him by our acts of responsibility; loyalty to each other, friendships, and hundred-percent examination passes. As we grew older under his tutelage, we understood that with extended privileges came the responsibility never to do anything that would embarrass the Hostel Master/Matron, or the Hostel. In my book on the GBSS Hostel, I point out that the GBSS taught us to think; the Hostel, (and particularly Mr. Scoon as Hostel Master) taught us how to live together as a society. He continuously belabored into our psyche the mantra “Please and Thank you cost you nothing”; teaching us thereby to be polite to each other, and to all. He encouraged us to read good books – he would enunciate, as only he could: “A goood booook (good book) is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit”. He called his boys “Mr. X” (and the ladies “Miss Y”); we returned the compliment to him and to each other. His congratulations were ready and unabashed: “Good Work”, he would often say.

Among other things, the Resume reads: Teacher; Hostel Master; Education Officer; Cabinet Secretary; Deputy, Commonwealth Secretariat; Director of Tourism; and Governor-General of Grenada. I used to tease Paul that he had all the earmarks of (in my mind) a Director of Tourism – flashing smile, the voice, a cool handsomeness, and intelligence (well…, so did John Watts and Mario Bullen!). And he played Lawn Tennis. But the key lesson here is the pinnacle achievement of a boy from a poor family from the village-town of Gouyave: he would say emphatically “it CAN be done!”

In his book ‘Survival for Service’, the theme is devotion to duty; as GG carrying out the required functions to bring Grenada back to constitutional stability. Had he written on the GBSS Hostel, his theme would probably be the same. He shone as a Hostel Master, and more brightly when compared to those before him with whom I interacted. He was not averse to a catch-them-while-they-are-still-asleep, 5:30 a.m. meeting with suspects; but he knew the folly of trying to demote a Junior or Senior with a stint in the Open Dormitory and its Prep boys.

One of his signal displays of trust in his boys was to recommend that I be Hostel Master for one week while he was away. The Headmaster agreed; the Hostel and I survived. In my book on the Hostel, I mention how I admired Mr. Scoon’s handling of a runaway group, in which I was included. I knew Mr. Scoon was dead serious when he started his enquiry with: “Gentlemen, be careful of what you say, because whatever you say will be held against you (pause); where were you last night?”

Mr. Scoon, always a teacher, left lessons in his advice to and empowerment of others. I recall just prior to an exam in Form 6b, my good friend George ‘Snobies’ Griffith was fiddling with some papers, somewhat furiously revising. Sir Paul passed by, and laughingly said ‘Mr. Griffith, what are you worrying about? If you did not know the work three months ago, you won’t know it now”. I don’t know what Snobies heard, but what I heard was “Now is the time to relax; not to be drumming up anxiety”. In 1988, a groundsman-member of the Grenada Golf Club (Alwyn Edmond) won the Barbados Open Golf Tournament. Sir Paul readily agreed to the Captain’s request to meet with Edmond. Amidst his congratulations, he praised Edmond for using the skills that he had. He knew, he said, many multi-skilled persons who did not put any of them to good use. What I noted was that, throughout, Sir Paul uplifted Edmond and his performance without any hint of condescension.

I return again to Paul’s devotion to duty, well emphasized in his book. I know much more about that at the GBSS Hostel. Paul was once asked by a Hostel Boy (post-Hostel life) what was his philosophy in guiding and managing 52 young boys. He promptly replied that it was based on three things: Discipline; Churching and Study. If Paul ever showed dislike to a Hostel Boy, it would be to the one who tried to or avoided going to Church. He himself was a staunch church-goer well into his late years.

Paul was instrumental in the early discussions and planning of Grenada’s Independence, including coordination of public meetings. I recall in my later years at GBSS being voted as the boy who most epitomized the spirit of the GBSS, but for me and others of my ilk, Paul Scoon was “Mr. GBSS”, pre- and post-school years. When fires ravaged the GBSS buildings, Paul was ready and willing to assist in fund raising efforts for repair and reconstruction. In my book, I mention that as an ex-Hostel Boy, the derelict Top Dormitory was an eyesore and a shame to its history. I must now mention that the person achieving its final demolition and removal was Paul Scoon, “Mr. Hostel Boy”.

I am sure that many people have many other experiences and lessons they had with Sir Paul. I think it will do us all well to reflect on the impact he has had on our lives, even just the mundane lesson that from humble beginnings, with discipline and hard work, one can rise and fly high. On behalf of the GBSS and GBSS Hostel Boys, and all others, I wish Sir Paul bon voyage on his continuing journey to perfection. I will not be at the funeral, but I will be singing the GBSS School Song as his physical remains are lowered into their grave.

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26 Responses to TRIBUTE TO SIR PAUL SCOON 1935-2013

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  7. Winston Phillips says:

    Received from Herman Hall, ex-GBSS and Hostel Boy, and Editor, EVERYBODY’Ss Magazine. *Did you sing the GBSS School Song….. beacons?

    My Personal Tribute to the Late Sir Paul Scoon of Grenada
    By Herman Hall
    Most Grenadians, the Caribbean and world communities would probably remember the late Sir Paul Scoon (July 4, 1935-September 2, 2013) as the head of state during Grenada’s most trying time – 1979-1983 – in its modern history. In 1978, Paul Scoon was appointed Governor General by Queen Elizabeth II on the advice of Prime Minister Eric Gairy. The next year, 1979, Governor General Sir Paul Scoon experienced the overthrow of Gairy in a coup d’état led by Maurice Bishop and Bernard Coard. Surprisingly, Sir Paul remained Governor General during the Bishop years. After the assassination of Bishop, the destruction of the People’s Revolutionary Government and the invasion/rescue mission by the U.S., Sir Paul led Grenada back to constitutional government and the path to Western style democracy. That’s how world history records him.
    However, a group of men in their 50s and 60s have fond memories of Sir Paul from a totally different setting. He was their geography master when they attended the Grenada Boys’ Secondary School (GBSS.) That group includes me.
    A special group, and I am also included, will always remember Sir Paul Scoon as our hostel master. Many country boys and boys from the islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique lived at the GBSS Hostel during school semesters. He provided fatherly responsibilities to all 52 hostel boys daily. He instilled discipline in us and taught us table etiquette such as showing us how to hold a spoon in a different angle when having porridge as opposed to when having soup. He made sure we were up at 6am, Mondays-Fridays, to exercise. On Sundays, Paul Scoon made sure each boy attended the church the boy parents desired. Led by Mr. Scoon, boys arrived for meals – breakfast, lunch, tea and supper – on time even on Carnival Mondays and Tuesdays.
    Paul Scoon impacted the lives of all of us who were hostel boys. He molded us into disciplined and productive men and we are indebted to him.
    Long before that, even before I was ten, I heard of Paul Scoon and I sometimes saw him in Gouyave where he was born and raised and when he visited Belvidere estate with Miss Camela, his mother. Miss Camela was a vendor in the Gouyave market place. She sold peanuts, blood pudding, sugar-cake and other edible items. She was what Jamaicans call a higgler. Later with the financial assistance of her children, she became a shopkeeper (bodega owner.)
    Some of Paul Scoon family lived on Belvidere estate where I grew up. My family knew Miss Camela and they were proud of Miss Camela raising all three children Paul, Ausbert and Norma, and two older ones, the late Alfred Church and “Hockenese,” by herself. The fact that all her children were growing up into fine citizens won her more admiration.
    I remember how Mr. Brighton, Sir Paul Uncle, and Frederick Adams, the man who raised me, were elated when Paul Scoon graduated from the GBSS and was hired as a master or teacher at the GBSS. They did not anticipate a boy from a poor family in Gouyave, a boy who came to Clozier and Belvidere to help his mother carry provisions to Gouyave, would become a master at the famed GBSS.
    Can you imagine how Mr. Brighton, Miss Mae, his wife, Frederick Adams and other laborers felt years later when Paul Scoon, the first Grenadian from an ordinary and humble family, was sworn-in as Governor-General of Grenada? I was already residing in NY but Frederick Adams (Papa) in a letter told me how Mr. Brighton happily cried for days to know his nephew was Governor General of Grenada.
    Back to my teenage years and Paul Scoon, the teacher: I am a hostel boy and Hostel Master Scoon would occasionally ask me, “Hall, how is your Uncle Frederick?”
    So I regarded Paul Scoon as family. Moreover, we were from the same St. John’s Parish and were nurtured in the same environment. Frederick Adams attended the St. John’s Anglican School between1908-1914, Paul Scoon in the 1940s and me from 1952-1958.
    Years later Herman Hall Communications would become agent for Sir Paul’s autobiography in the US as the relationship forged at GBSS endured through time.
    Only Last Friday, August 31, at midnight during Brooklyn’s Calypso-Soca Tent, I made reference to Sir Paul Scoon teasing Clarence Jeffrey, the lone Trinidadian student at the hostel, when Trinidad & Tobago achieved independence on August 31, 1962. As we, the hostel boys dined a few days later, in September, when school reopened, Scoon wittingly remarked, “Jeffery! Now that Trinidad has gained its independence, you think you are a big man.”
    As Grenada and the region mourn the passing of this Caribbean titan, I am certain that most hostel boys who were fortunate to have lived under his jurisdiction are very saddened and tearful of Sir. Paul’s passing as I am.
    * His final resting place will be Gouyave Cemetery. The town of Gouyave is also the home of Olympian Kirani James.
    **Original edition of Survival for Service: My Experiences as Governor General of Grenada by Paul Scoon is available from EVERYBODY’S Magazine; $17 per copy plus courier shipping of $10. Send money order to EVERYBODY’S Magazine, 1630 Nostrand Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11226.

  8. Alfred Horsford says:

    As I think of Sir Paul, pleasant memories flood my mind. Sir Paul was the consummate gentleman both in speech and manners. He has helped in challenging me to aspire to sublime heights.
    Whenever Sir Paul comes to mind I always see him leading his family of boys into the dining room at mealtime where sumptuous things awaited us on the tables. How well do I remember after he had had his tea he would say, for example, “Steele, would you like a cupa?” Brian would gingerly reply, “Ye-yes, sir!’ And the pot with its fragrant contents would be on its way to the fortunate boarder. Of course, I had my turn as well at the cupa as did many of the others.
    My greatest memory of Sir Paul was the occasion when, in a telephone conversation, he prayed with me to receive Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour. He is now in heaven rejoicing with Christ. I am looking forward to joining him some day as would all who would also receive Christ.

  9. Rowley Jeffrey says:

    Sir Paul
    To know him was to respect him; to meet him was to admire him; to contemplate his achievements was to wonder; still,
    I love contemplating, apart
    From all his monumental glories, that which endears him to the heart,

    Sir Paul Scoon’s stories.
    I plagiarize unabashed, unashamed and unapologetic, here, the first line, the rhyme scheme and a few words from Thomas Campbell’s (1777 – 1844) first stanza in his poem, Napoleon and the British Sailor, because it aptly sums up what I am about to do. Sir Paul’s ascendency to academic and social stature and his service to his country have been copiously and eloquently dealt with by Mr De Coteau and Dr. Phillips and others; but that alone did not make Sir Paul Sir Paul. I cannot here delineate all the idiosyncrasies and subtle graces that coalesce into the man we all admire. I had intended to let this one pass since my colleagues have done such wonderful jobs, but he touched me in several ways, and personally urged by Tony, this is my profound respect to him.
    I learnt the word plagiarize from my first high school English teacher, a man with a smooth black complexion reminiscent of African royalty; a man called Paul Godwin Scoon, who seemed to have been conscious of his regal blackness and wore it with ostentatious pride. In form 3 he was reading from the book Prester John, by John Buchan – a story about illicit diamond broking in South Africa, and when Buchan described Reverend John Laputa, he was describing my teacher.
    From Sir Paul I learnt, not just the proper use of the language, but also a love for the language and a love for story-telling; so that when Daddy Bakes got me in forms 5 and 6, his job was more than half done. Recently I contemplated long and hard concerning to which of these peerless teachers I should dedicate my second book, Who Sinned? Sir Paul was still alive. Bakesies won.
    As youngsters with boundless aspirations from the country, we were amazed and proud of what a bumpkin from Gouyave could accomplish. My first amazement, however, came when I learnt that he was attempting to do a Bachelor’s degree from home without attending college or university, something I did not know was possible at the time. When he succeeded he gave hope to so many impecunious but industrious students later who exhibited his drive and dedication and courage. When George Boldeau later did an MA while headmaster at the MacDonald College, my hat went off for him but my sentiments went out to Sir Paul.
    He did not use his seat at the meal table as a forum for invectives, but use it he did to point out greed, injustice, dishonesty, hypocrisy and other evils of society, wherever they reared their ugly heads, whether in government or any other organization. But it was never personal, libellous or vindictive. He merely pointed out in a humourous, satirical, sarcastic or cynical way, the breach of common sense or decorum in their dealings. Indeed the motto I saw posted at the top entrance to the middle building in the hostel: “A breach of common sense is a breach of hostel rule”, might well have been written by Sir Paul. That motto intimidated me throughout my entire school life, and today I still hold myself accountable beyond the laws to that higher yardstick of common sense.
    It was from that forum at the meal table that he diligently meted out life lessons through proverbs and platitudes, privileges and punishments, as if born to the job. “Please and thank you cost nothing”; “If a man is diligent about his business he can stand before kings”, and he shaped our morals, manners and attitudes with knowledge pure and an unyielding hand. He passed his Cambridge exams and started teaching at a very early age, so as hostel master he was father figure to boys not much his junior. I never knew my father who died while studying in Scotland. My mother meted out discipline to his four children with a whip from a coconut broom with some efficacy, we all won government scholarships to attend secondary schools; but the principles of manhood and responsibility my younger brother and I got from Sir Paul.
    We heard the crimes of our mates from that forum before the grace at any meal except tea in the afternoon. “Gentlemen it shocks me to learn that Doe exhibited the base manners of putting a fried fish head in his pocket to take it down to the dormitory to eat. Now Doe shall leave us.” At which time the culprit walks out shamefully amid snickers and then Sir Paul would say the grace.
    “Doe, did you go to the cinema this evening without permission?” Sir Paul asked a chap on one occasion. “I wouldn’t say so sir.”
    Sir Paul, by now extremely angry. “Doe, there is a red and white building around the wharf (Empire Theatre), did you enter it?”
    “I wouldn’t say so sir.”
    “Now Doe shall leave us.” Sir Paul would say rather angrily. He would say grace and we would dine but his mood would be reflected in the punishment of the foolish fellow afterwards. On one occasion to a certain Doe he said, “Now we shall ostracise, Doe; we shall isolate Doe; now Doe shall leave us.” Needless to say it was not a happy meal for us. We were eager to rush down to peruse our dictionaries to find out the fate of our unfortunate Doe.
    The greatest form of flattery is imitation and at the MacDonald College I found myself imitating both the hostel matron and the hostel master. My first English class with the new students had nothing to do with English. I would set them at ease and give them stories about my fears at Christmas dinner at the hostel, when a spoon-toting country boy had to tackle fried chicken legs with knife and fork, as the headmaster’s white cumber band waited patiently as the receptacle of a chicken leg assault on the other side of the table, when I fumbled the first cut. They would be laughing while I inculcated the proper use of the utensils; the proper way to hold a cup, and to use the utensils from outside in; the proper way to scoop with a spoon by leaning the bowl backwards with the thumb and scooping out to the back; to take in the spoon totally by the mouth without making disgusting bubbling sounds, etc. I knew they would need it some day.
    Now to have seen me in sanctimonious righteousness, spouting Sir Paul’s platitudes, “Please and thank you cost nothing” would have been something; but, as master of discipline and punishment when I composed my own platitude: “If a man has to resort to violence to prove his point, it is a safe bet he never had one”, that would have made even Sir Paul proud. Sir Paul was an Archer house man and he never missed a first division Archer house football game. Even when Ted Walker and Mickey Sylvester and the might of School house (now McGuire house) had us 4-0, he could be heard under a British umbrella in the rain, “Come on Archer. They have not beaten us yet.” That was typical. Typically, too, proud of his Gouyave football heritage, he always played for the masters in the masters – prefects game. He ran well with the ball but had difficulties changing directions. It was pure fun to look at him.
    From that meal table forum in so many ways he emphasised the folly of wasting our “spring of youth in idle dalliance, and every time it cut me to the quick. You see, I was a slacker. In 6b in 1960 I built a dinghy sailboat in the school carpenter’s shop, and in the afternoon I would scuttle Mr. Benjamin’s Economics and Public Affairs classes and go down to the hostel and take off in my boat and sail to Grand Anse.
    When the boat was completed it was taken down to the bottom dormitory on a Friday evening where Sir Paul saw it for the first time. At dinner he announced. “A sailboat is sitting on the corridor of the bottom dormitory of which I was told nothing.” That was all that was said on the matter, but I rather thought he was proud.
    In the Windward Island School Tournament in Grenada in 1960 I did the hostel proud when Mickey Sylvester and I jointly took home the MVP for football. In 1961 the school won the local football competition beating out teams like Atoms, Dauntless, Green Street and Sporting Club, a feat never before accomplished by any school team in the Caribbean. The football team for tournament in St. Lucia was going to be formidable. As the time approached there was excitement and from his place at the table, Sir Paul turned to my table and enquired. “Jeffrey would you be eligible to play in St. Lucia next year?” To which I promptly replied. “No sir, I will be too old.” Sir Paul went on to express his opinion that as long as a chap was legitimately in school he should be allowed to participate in the tournament.
    1962 came and the temptation of the trip vanquished both my honesty and my resolve. I went to the register, which was all done in pen at the time, and with a fine bit of forgery, changed my year of birth. Sir Paul was the form master of 6a at the time. I was picked as football captain to go to St Lucia. I know my forgery could not have fooled Sir Paul. Up until today as his friend to his death we never spoke about it.
    An egg for breakfast was a luxury hostel boys never had, but it came as an award for achievements, placing in fortnightly tests or on one’s birthday. You simply go down to breakfast before the bell rang and inform the matron and a fried egg came to you with no words expressed, to the consternation of the chaps sitting beside you. I had about six birthdays every year.
    This time my egg arrived on schedule and I addressed it with knife and fork and a pompous smile.
    “Jeffrey, how many birthdays you have in the year?” It was Mrs. Braithwaite. I looked to the head of the younger boys’ table in shame and beheld the twinkling eyes beneath the glasses and the beautiful low engaging laughter. I looked beyond the fridge and saw Sir Paul in uncontrollable laughter. This was my home. These people were my family.
    He was not all discipline. The elements in him were tastefully mixed. I can give anecdotes that would fracture faces with dimples but I doubt this is the proper place and time.
    He lived around the rocks before he was hostel master; so when Doe and I stole out to the movies in the night he always saw us. When he came to the hostel as hostel master, Doe and I pulled the usual prank. We got up to the study room; made trouble; got put in the corner so we would be observed, then left the study room and went down to the dormitory to prepare to leave. We had just donned on our hats and disguise clothing.
    “Going somewhere, gentlemen?” We were shocked and dreaded our punishment. He sat Doe and I down and told us how often he had seen us breaking the rules; what could happen to us in pit or on the street, and the foolhardiness of wasting study hours, and that was that. No anger, no punishment.
    I know I was one of Mrs. Braithwaite’s favourite. It would require an entire book to record her caring and kindness towards me. Towards this end, my first book, Gems in the Cracks, was dedicated to two loving mothers: Teacher Tina, my mother, who dedicated her life for her four children, and Maude Braithwaite (Ma Braf) childless, but loving mother of so many. But Sir Paul was the stick, the spine to this recalcitrant sapling, and until today my actions are prefaced by the thought of what Sir Paul would say and what Sir Paul would think.
    When I left school we drifted apart in space and certain ideologies, especially in political ideas. It angered me when he refused to give me a scholarship to go abroad to study when he was in a position to do so. Where did I go wrong? I was his hostel boy, his Archer house captain, one of the school’s proudest product, prefect, sergeant major of the cadets, football captain of the school, president of 6a literary society, HSC graduate! What the hell does a guy have to do? I was embittered and thought the man a hypocrite.
    Then I reflected on how young he was and how suicidal it would have been for his career, I rebuked myself. You see, I was an arch-enemy to the other powerful man with skin of smooth blackness, and he was vindictive; but not even that could have assuaged the respect and admiration I had for Sir Paul.
    The few of us who knew him better always visited him when we went home. On one such visit, on the occasion of the first test match in the new stadium, I was almost killed like Bartholomew, by the police at the fire station in S Georges. I begged them repeatedly to use the washroom and women and men ignored me repeatedly. I was already past sixty. Angry and in pain I uttered a loud expletive that grabbed their attention. A big brute grabbed me by the collar, lifted me up while the women closed ranks, cutting me out from view and communication to outside, and the beast lifted his hammer of a hand to kill me. I was sure I was dead.
    “If you touch me, you had better kill me”, I said. I lost the two top buttons of my shirt as he put me down and a bigger beast, angry at the first, picked me up. “If you touch me, you had better kill me.” I don’t know what he saw in my eyes but he, too, put me down. I did not report it to the authorities in Grenada. On my return to Canada I e-mailed the incident to Sir Paul. He expressed his shock at my language to the police and took up the case. Some of the chaps were suspended without pay and there were varying degrees of punishments.
    That gesture told me everything I needed to know of which I had no doubt. I knew then how much it must have hurt him to refuse me that scholarship. I know too, that the life lessons that he taught me and so many others were more than any scholarship. He had already taught me how to do it without a scholarship.
    I also know that if I fail in life after knowing Sir Paul, the shame is mine.

    • Winston Phillips says:

      Another lesson: to take one’s responsibilities seriously and conscientiously – Paul Scoon taught also by example.

  10. Ralph Belton says:

    Sir Paul Scoon was my Latin class teacher. He certainly knew how to make you perform at your best. His technique for getting me to get high scores in his lating exams was to greet me with enthusiasm and praise every time he say me on campus (the flat as the hostel boys called it). All he would say is “Belton, gooood boy, Goood boy.” I would have rather he not do that because it meant that I had to double down on my studies to make sure that I live up to his expectations. I must say that I appreciate his efforts. My knowledge of latin made it so much easier to appreciate and understand word in serveral languages based on the latin derivative.

    Many years latter I met him in Washington, DC. I greeted him in latin. He gave me a studied look and then said “this is all correct” still looking puzzled as to who I was. It had been at least 20 years since I last saw him. He eventualy remembered. I met him several time after that in Grenada at his home in St Pauls and on GBSS campus. Of course I am happy that I had several opportunties to thank him for being a excellent beacon marking the way.

    May he rest in peace. Salve Magister. Pax tecum. Your adoring pupil, Radolphus

    • Winston Phillips says:

      One of Paul Scoon’s notable tendencies: to encourage (in his own manner and style) his pupils, friends, and even acquaintances, to do well and to do better. I believe that he actually enjoyed observing our successes, and congratulated us not just for the moment, but on to greater things.

  11. The Hostel discipline – being late for Table/Meals was a No No. If you dare to approach Mr Scoon with a dumb excuse like – the senior boys wouldn’t allow me to shower with them which was tradition, or I woke up late or … – Mr Scoon would continue to eat as if you didn’t exist standing right next to him and it didn’t take long to realize that you had to take that long embarrassing and humiliating stroll pass 51 boys out of the dining area – the same procedure for not attending church on Sunday. I didn’t have to learn anything when I joined the US military I was imprinted. Gordon T….

  12. Wilfred Steele says:

    A truly beautiful tribute to one of the finest sons of Grenada, and a shining example of the many fine individuals turned out by that great institution the Grenada Boys Secondary School.
    I was privileged to be considered a friend by Sir Paul, and will never forget the impression he made on me. I will never forget our many meetings in the Geography Room, after classes, when we conversed about whatever was current at the time.
    One of the most lasting impressions was when he gave me a book to study Surveying from, as I was the only Geography student not taking Map Projection in the Practical Geography exam, for Cambridge A-Levels. My mark was a very good one too.
    My Mom would always write to me mentioning how he would ask about me whenever she ran into him. He really was a fine man, whom I will sorely miss. May he rest in peace, never to be forgotten.

    • Winston Phillips says:

      Willie, ” a beacon marking the way”. Had his own way of beaming and shining too, sometimes lost to those more concerned with his manner of speech, and the air that went with it. it may surprise some if I say that there is no common individual – we all have our individual ways of expressions and the air that goes with it. And we miss the lesson of having an open mind to everyone’s ‘disorders’.

  13. Collis "Tony" DeCoteau says:

    As I remember Sir Paul Scoon
    by Collis (Tony) DeCoteau, author of “A PLACE CALLED GOUYAVE.”

    During the times that he was one of our masters at the GBSS, you couldn’t be a student there and not be influenced, or somehow affected in whichever way by this giant of a man, and I’m not talking in physical stature. If you were lucky enough as I was to be a Hostel boy, then in your mind he became legendary. And if you were not a GBSS or a Hostel boy, you got to know the man during one of Grenada’s most tumultuous eras as Grenada’s Governor General. In so many ways, he had a towering impact on all Grenadians.
    Sir Paul and I had opposite views on many things. I guessed he felt it even though I dared not voiced it out of basic respect for the man. He was much too British-patterned for my liking, and as an adult I definitely couldn’t agree with his general political views. As a Hostel boy I cannot forget that Grenada got a taste of the youthful Mighty Slasher only before he became one of our fellow Hostel boys. From the moment Slasher entered that famed institution, whatever potentials the budding calypso superstar had, (so many thought of him as the worthy replacement of the Mighty Sparrow that Grenada should keep and not allowed to migrate to Trinidad) were curtailed. In those days a Hostel boy singing calypso was not looked upon favorably, much less encouraged. Too bad!
    But there were so many, many good things to remember about this man; so many humorous incidents that can be recounted that it would take a full-length book to tell all. Suffice it to say that those of us who were lucky enough to have had him as our Hostel Master will always cherish and look back fondly at “the flicking of his fingers to usher you out of the dining room should you be late for supper.” Or him asking one of us in his stylized British accent, “Prefect De, would you like to have a cupper?”
    In our preparation for the St. John’s Reunion in 2009, Sir Paul, like Sir Carlyle Glean unhesitatingly confirmed in response that he will be there. Responding to our invitation, Sir Paul wrote that as a Gouyave man he’d be remiss if he couldn’t and didn’t attend. How our Reunion Committee would have loved Slinger Francisco alias the Mighty Sparrow to have responded like that to our invitation! Oh, well!
    I have no idea why Sir Paul upon taking his seat during the opening Reunion ceremony, took my hand and placed it on his shoulder, but I felt honored that he did. Who knows, maybe it was an unspoken acknowledgement that our Gouyave and Hostel commonality was far more important to him than whatever private disagreements we might have had!!
    I know that Grenada, Gouyave, the GBSS and the old boys of the Hostel-no-more, will all join together in spirit if not in person, to pay our final respects to a worthy son of the soil. Whether we care to acknowledge it or not, a piece of Paul Scoon is forever etched in varying degrees on everyone of us who were his charges at the GBSS Hostel. It’s unfortunate that in entitling his book “The Measure of a Man,” Sidney Poitier has unknowingly robbed Sir Paul’s biographer of a most apt title. I, especially, was blessed to have been touched by this fellow Gouyave-man, a pupil of his at the GBSS and most of all one of his Hostel boys.
    We who are left behind can only stand and reflect in astonishment and conclude by saying “Well done, Sir, thank you so very much!” Which brings us right back to one of his constant reminders, “Please and Thanks cost you nothing!”
    To his surviving brother, Ausbert “Gubby” Scoon, his sister, Norma Scoon, and all other known and unknown relatives, sincere condolences are conveyed from the DeCoteau family from Gouyave. May our Sir Paul rest in peace.

  14. Carlton Heywood says:

    Bobby you excellent, narrative on the life of Sir Paul Scoon, is an apt journal,which indicate that you and others, have inherited the mental plumbing, which as teacher and manager, Sir Paul unleashed the diamonds from his environment , as he was grounded in the riches of human possibilities.

    The assertion can follow that the texture of his humanity, in the universe of Sir Paul Scoon, through language and affirmation of deeds, was a cultural force for transformation.

    Carl.

  15. Judes says:

    “Please and thank you cost you nothing.” Heard that plenty times growing up. I did not know Sir Paul Scoon personally, but he is familiar to me through my Dad’s stories. Grenada has lost another leader. May he rest in peace.

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