May 2021 Volume 17

Bredrin Notes - Esmond K. Scott (KC -- 1970-78)

Stephen Vasciannie
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This is the second article in the “Bredrin Notes” series

For the generation of the 1970s, the name Esmond Scott evokes respect, humour, and class among KC bredrin. “E.K.”, as he is affectionately known, was Deputy Head Boy at the College in 1977 to 1978, a time of unprecedented trial arising from the May 1977 Fire. EK’s leadership skills were well tested from then and set the stage for a professional career in the private and public sectors.

Among his KC classmates, EK is well known for his skills of articulation. Mrs. Muriel Riley, who once famously fulminated against “fickle, frivolous fools” in the Lower Sixth, challenged EK for combing his hair just before his first class of the morning. “Scott, you are so vain”, she declared. “No miss, it’s pride in appearance”. “Touche!”, intoned Scotty’s friends. On another occasion, EK convinced sceptical colleagues and senior administrators at school to follow a particular course of action by pointing out graphically that this was in keeping with “the burning desire of the masses”.

EK’s skills of articulation were also evinced in his scribal output. As one of the co-editors of the 1977 school magazine, he worked with others to ensure balanced presentations, thought-provoking captions, and attractive photographs. EK himself offered a sensitive essay under the title, “You Can’t Blame the Youth” -- this considered persistently topical matters such as pre-marital sex, juvenile delinquency, black consciousness and the generation gap, with maturity that belied his teenage years.

The school magazine project also highlighted Scotty’s capacity for hard work. Long were the afternoons spent at Clive Fung’s printery on Lissant Road next to KC. Fung renamed Scotty “Little Ed” and was noticeably solicitous to Little Ed’s judgement and viewpoints. At the end of the magazine production process, the core team, on Fung’s kind invitation, had a memorable lunch at the Golden Bowl Restaurant downtown. EK reportedly sampled culinary delights previously and subsequently unfamiliar to his palate.

Ensom Man

In the Sixth Form years, EK, a Harbour View transplant and Ensom City denizen, would often take one of the fancy-looking Spanish Town buses from Cross Roads to his home. Cross Roads meant a mandatory stop at the Patty Palace where, for no more than 45 cents, two patties and a box juice could be promptly addressed. This would be followed by sometimes circumloquacious discussions on everything save Calculus. When the Spanish Town bus turned up, EK, the Ensom Man, would depart the Palace in a dignified sprint, with purple and white tie proudly aloft. The sprint, it must be said, had the style of “Jah Man” Henry, but not necessarily the velocity.

In those days, and even today, the “Spain man dem” – including EK, Orville Beckford, Howard Walters and Donald Jones -- retained a special bond. Incidentally, Beckford, a fellow Deputy Head Boy from 1977-8, recalls fondly that Ms. Mac (EK’s mother) and “Uncle Sonny” (his stepfather) tended to eat dinner on the late side at Ensom Crescent – this was always good knowledge for young visitors to have.

For the Advanced Level, EK pursued History, Economics and Literature. Together with several others, such as “Screechy” Mitchell and “Con” Francis, EK gravitated enthusiastically and especially to the Literature. One reason for this may have been the link from the classics to our everyday lives. So, when KC lost Champs, the Arts Sixth Form room would echo with Miltonian verse from Paradise Lost, “What though the field be lost? All is not Lost”. And EK’s class was doing Hamlet too: there was no shortage of Shakespearean aphorisms on offer for the uninitiated.

EK was in the quiz community at KC under the legendary guidance of Mrs. Frances Coke (whose book, The Spirit of Clovelly Park is a “must read” for KC people). When KC took the Schools’ Challenge Quiz Trophy in May 1977, he was at the JBC Studio leading the cheering squad in a firm “Fortis” which resonated across Jamaica. And we, the students, knew EK was the leader because, along with Michael Laidlaw – who had incomparable volume – he had the style and rhythm to present an impromptu series of KC cheers at any time. EK’s quiz connection also saw him winning the second series of the Test Your Wits Competition in 1978, in tandem with a strong colleague from Alpha Academy.

Post-KC

Everything save Calculus? Neither in the “A” Level Exams nor in quiz did EK mark himself out as a Mathematician of the order of Charlton Collie, a master of the 1970s era. But one is reliably informed that upon joining the student body at the City University of New York’s Baruch College, EK grew to embrace Calculus in its differential and integral forms. EK had migrated to the Big Apple to join his father, AK Scott, after spending about a year in post-KC employment at the National Commercial Bank, 79 King Street, Kingston – in the middle of what we now describe as “Justice Square”.

In New York, grounded initially in Brooklyn, and later Hollis, Queens, EK worked at an economic consulting house run by Alan Greenspan in the period before Greenspan became Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. At early stages of his career, too, EK worked in the hotel and banking sectors. He completed a Master’s degree in Public Administration and steadily deepened his involvement in that field. In most recent years, he has served as the City Manager for North Miami Beach, Florida, - the first and only Jamaican thus far to serve as City Manager of a Municipality in Miami Dade County. The position requires EK’s diplomatic skills, quick wit and strong intellect.

In Florida, EK and his wife for close to 40 years – Marcia -- have a good base for contact with their adult children, Kimberly, and Brian, as well as their grandchildren. From this base too, they may take occasional trips to the Rock, to reminisce about Melbourne Park and Clovelly, toto cake, gizzada bun, and KC having them on the run. Alas, the Patty Palace has been displaced; but EK remains a College Bredrin of class.

Stephen Vasciannie

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