I joined the Boy Scouts movement at All Saints School in west Kingston in 1959. During my time there, I met folks like top musician and bass guitarist Jackie Jackson of Treasure Isle Studio and band leader of Toots and The Maytals. I was made a queen's scout, highest rank for the organisation.
Also at All Saints were Frederick Waite, tenor singer in The Techniques group whose kids became the nucleus of Musical Youth of Pass di Dutchie fame. Another member of the All Saints scout troupe was Bob Marley's personal assistant and bodyguard, Colin "Lip" Oldham.
Five of my siblings — Alfred, Patrick, Denton, Beres and Junior — became members of the All Saints scout troupe. Some of them attained the rank of queen's scout and represented Jamaica on many international events.
Other members of the music fraternity who were Boy Scouts were Owen "Flats" Hylton, formerly of The Jamaicans; Bob Andy, who was a member of the Kingston Parish Church troupe; Tabby Diamond of The Mighty Diamonds; Lloyd "Gitsy" Willis and Errol Dunkley from St Pius scout troupe; videographer Jose Walton; photo-journalist Roy Sweetland; and lighting and technical company owner John Swaby, who was known in scout circles as Polaroid.
Retired police officer Cornwall "Bigga" Ford and retired Ministry of Labour officer in charge of the farm work programme Earle Whyte (who was also a member of the Merritone sound system) were Boy Scouts. Earle was also a queen's scout.
Now that Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, are dead, I am confused about the term, 'queen's scout' and Duke Of Edinburgh Awards. Will it be changed to king scout since the reigning monarch is now King Charles III and will the Duke Of Edinburgh Awards become obsolete.
My time in the Boy Scouts movement was the university which prepared me for the future. Thanks to my scout master, Robert "Sir B" Blackman, who was a great father figure.
My recently released book, Reggae My Life Is, highlights aspects of my upbringing, especially in the Boy Scouts movement.
Copeland Forbes has served as manager/road manager and booking agent for numerous reggae artistes including Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh, Third World, Dennis Brown, and Luciano. He has booked countless package tours to Africa, Europe, Japan, Australia and North America.