January 2023 Volume 19


Professor Stephen Vasciannie
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It was a Thursday afternoon in March or April of 1973. Cricket season at Melbourne Park. Mrs. B. Urquhart, our much-respected and inspirational teacher of English, had taken early leave for the day, but had arranged for her colleague, Mrs. Holding, to sit with us from about 1:30 to the final bell at “ten to two”.

The Cricketer

Second Form excitement was almost ablaze, for the KC Sunlight Cup team was scheduled to take on Jamaica College in a crucial cricket match among leading schools. The aforementioned Mrs. Holding, being the mother of the KC captain, Michael, allowed us to watch the early stages of the match from our classroom.

So, there it was. Michael Holding: coming through from the Pavilion End in the south on the Sixth Form version of his long run up. And Kingston College: fielding with 3 slips and a gully, as well as other placements reminiscent of Test cricket at its highest.

In about Holding’s second over, Sanguinetti, the JC opening batsman, known to be a tough fighter, edged a quicker delivery to slips where Dennis Duncan moved smartly to his left and held on to what KC’s star coach Jimmy Richards described as a “sharp chance”. Mr. Richards had frequently warned his wards that “there are no easy slip catches”, so he was gratified that Dennis had delivered from within the slip cordon.


Watching from Form 2A, also down by the Pavilion end, I was elated. This was one of the most exciting and consequential matches of the season, and there was my big brother Dennis confidently swallowing up a catch off the bowling of the soon to be “Hurricane” Holding. Dennis was among the Purple Princes – pride overfloweth. If the Battle of Trafalgar was won on the playing fields of Eton, then surely many of the battles of Jamaican life have been settled at Melbourne Park.

I recalled at the time Dennis’ earlier exploits in cricket at the Meadowbrook High School “Bottom Field” (in the beautiful Vale of Chancery Hall) and on an open lot on Hurlingham Drive, Meadowbrook. Dennis was a natural. Although he made the KC team as a middle order batsman, at home we knew him also as a fast off-spin bowler, a serious all-rounder who mesmerized even the older neighbourhood experts. And yet, as some readers may remember, cricket was not Dennis’ number one sport.

Table Tennis

Some weeks ago, I came across a souvenir edition of the KC Prize-Giving Bulletin for 1973 – during the principalship of the Reverend E Don Taylor. That Bulletin carried, inter alia, a report that Dennis Duncan represented Jamaica in the Caribbean Table Tennis Competition for that year.

Starting from the home base, Dennis’ natural prowess propelled him, first, to the finals of the City of Kingston Under 16 Championship, through numerous victories for KC in the schoolboy Kelall Cup Competition and on to the senior ranks of the Caribbean table tennis community. There, Dennis, together with KC stalwarts such as Richie Stephenson, Junior Allwood and Ricardo “Thickers” Isaacs, rubbed shoulders with regional giants including Lionel Darcueil (Trinidad), Robert Earl (Barbados) and George Brathwaite (Guyana).


Dennis, who eventually went on to serve a term as President of the Jamaica Table Tennis Federation, was and still is an outstanding student of the game, highly knowledgeable about the techniques of world and regional champions.

From his earlier days, he could expound with precision, for instance, on why top player Dragutin Serbec of Yugoslavia found it helpful to sit in a dark room staring at a single table tennis ball for hours, or on why Caetano would almost invariably take down Tannahill in the USA national championships. At the regional level, his assessment of the famous confrontations between Orville Haslam and Fernardo Roberts was always perceptive, thoughtful and accurate.


When Dennis graduated from KC in the early 1970s, he worked within the National Youth Service (NYS) introduced by the Manley Government as a corollary to the Free Education programme which has helped so many of us.

Thereafter, he joined the staff of the National Housing Trust (NHT) as a Parish Officer, remaining at the Trust for a little over a decade. Then, as a means of capturing the early family moments in the life of his first child, Dennis took up videography. His family efforts grew rapidly, so that by 1987 videography became a full-time professional endeavour.

Video Master

Together with still photography, Dennis’ videography is today characterized by its high quality, attention to detail and sensitive touches. Weddings, Church Services, seminars and other functions fall within his areas of specialization, while livestreaming has emerged as a popular option for clients from all walks of life (including a fair group of local and international celebrities).

He is a video master in demand whose work combines technical mastery with a mature understanding of human nature; not surprisingly then, on one view, he is among the “busiest persons in Jamaica”.

Dennis is even-tempered to a fault. He can “size up” a situation in quick order, has a prodigious memory, and is generous with his advice, practical know-how and expertise. He remains a sporting aficionado and exhibits mastery over gadgetry and the new technology that puts most persons over the age of 50 in the deep shade.

From the literary world, he recalls fondly that Mrs. S. Harris, another of the KC English-teaching greats, referred to him as “King Duncan” with a smile in her voice as they pursued the collective journey through MacBeth for the Cantabrigian examiners. He is a deft raconteur with a storehouse of stories of the good and great acquired, to be sure, from years in the field.

Family Man

Above all, Dennis is, and has always been, attentive to his family and friends – and has not been reluctant to guide his younger brother. On family matters, no sacrifice is too great for him. He is naturally proud of his daughters, Nicolanne and Janay, who have proceeded to professional careers based in the USA and Jamaica, respectively, while young Kamryn (at age 7) brings great joy to Grandpa Dennis.

He views KC as a significant part of the wider family, and is keen to contribute to the beloved institution as well as to all who pass along the pathways of Melbourne and Clovelly.

My brother, my bredrin, still holding the catches of life.

- Stephen Vasciannie

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