Although inevitable, death still has a way of numbing, of depressing, of humbling, of being the great equalizer.
Over the past several months Sir Paul Scoon was not enjoying the best of health and although one was prepared for the inescapable the passing of such a stalwart is still dismal and disheartening.
Every end provides an opportunity for reflection and at the same time a new beginning. Sir Paul’s passing gives one pause and the chance to reflect on the true meaning of service. Not the selfish service that presently pervades our society or the kind of service that comes aligned with blind political allegiance, but rather a service to country that is unwavering, patriotic, unapologetic, steadfast, while managing to be stately and diplomatic.
Sir Paul exemplified all of the above and more, not only as Governor General of Grenada, but also as a loyal and devoted citizen of his place of birth who believed in his obligation to give back, to serve and to do so with the courage of his convictions.
The story of Sir Paul’s tenure as Governor General is well documented in his richly informative publication Survival for Service. How Sir Paul survived the political labyrinth during his fourteen years of Governorship is one of the miracles of modern-day Caribbean politics.
From Gairy to Revolution to Intervention to Interim Government to Braithwaite, Blaize and Ben, Sir Paul remained resolute, remained respected and was able to leave office on his own terms, when he thought he had given enough to country through the Office of Governor General.
Growing up in the rural village of Clozier, St. John it was always a momentous occasion at our home when Sir Paul would visit. My Grandfather with whom I resided in those early years was the uncle of Sir Paul and so the visits were frequent and somewhat informal.
However, Sir Paul’s demeanor and consular charisma always brought with them an air of circumspection even during the casual and light moments.
His retirement provided even more outlets for service that included several Boards and a staunch and devoted commitment to his Catholic faith.
In recent years he had become, counselor, consultant and advisor to Grenadians from all strata of society and even when ill-health restricted his physical mobility, a phone-call and quick appointment made Sir Paul easily and readily accessible to all who sought his words of wisdom, encouragement and knowledge.
When I was confronted with personal problems of the highest degree it was Sir Paul who advised that I stand up to the challenges of life and do not attempt to run away, because it was impossible to run away from one ’s self.
The other significant lesson I learnt from Sir Paul was the importance of being courageous enough to believe in something and to be able to defend and stand by that belief.
In a society where popularity is bought by agreeing to and accepting that which is not necessarily correct but fashionable, it is the mark of a great man that he lived a full life, standing by his decisions, even the unpopular ones, served his Country with all his God-given strength and earned the respect of those who admire and appreciate virtues such as selflessness, courage and service.
Sir Paul may your soul rest eternally in peace, secure in the knowledge that your beloved Country, Grenada and all the lives you have touched are all better off because you were here.