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Near 400 Freemasons registered for tercentenary celebrations in Jamaica

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Just under 400 delegates have registered for this week's 300th anniversary celebration of English Freemasonary being held in Montego Bay.

The celebrations, scheduled for Thursday to Sunday, mostly at the Montego Bay Conference Centre, will see 396 Freemasons from Jamaica, the wider Caribbean, as well as from North, South and Central America engaged in academic conferences, among other activities.

Information posted on the United Grand Lodge of England website states that the consensus amongst scholars is that the order of Freemasonry descends from the organisation of the stonemasons who built the great cathedrals and castles of the Middle Ages. However, on June 24, 1717 four Masonic Lodges got together and formed the world's first Grand Lodge. “They met at the Goose and Gridiron Tavern in St Paul's Churchyard and elected Anthony Sayer as their grand master,” the website states. “This was followed by the Grand Lodge of Ireland in 1725, the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1736 and then further afield, so that today there are around 200 Grand Lodges spread across the world.”

The tercentenary celebrations will culminate in a meeting at Royal Albert Hall on October 31 this year. However, there are many other events taking place in England and here in Jamaica, starting with a cocktail party and the launch of a book, Freemasonry in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, by noted author Jackie Ranston on Thursday.

On Friday and Saturday there will be academic conferences and sessions. Among the keynote speakers from Jamaica and overseas are Brian Price, Afeef Lazarus, John Wade, Veront Satchell, Jessica Harland-Jacobs, and S Brent Morris. Local Freemasons will be the moderators.

A Jamaica Night celebration will be held on Friday, and on Saturday there will be a Grand Gala and Banquet.

The final major activity in Jamaica will be a church service at St James Parish Church on Sunday morning, May 28.

District Grand Master of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands Walter Scott, QC said it was “a signal honour for Jamaica to be named hosts of this historical event in the Americas... We are planning to present something that is unique and unforgettable.”