Nackeshia Tomlinson, Gleaner Writer
ELDERSLIE, St Elizabeth:BEYOND THE winding roads and quiet hills of Elderslie, St Elizabeth, the legacy of National Hero Paul Bogle lives on in an unlikely manner.
It is in the form of Carlton Francis, a descendant of Bogle. Francis' great-grandmother was a close relative of Bogle.
Francis told The Gleaner that as a little boy growing up in Trinity Ville, St Thomas, he heard fascinating stories about Bogle from his relatives, who kept his memory alive through the art of storytelling.
"I am very proud and that instinct is in me, patriotism and love for the community," said Francis.
He said even as a student, whenever there were programmes that included Bogle, he saw it as his duty to volunteer to participate. Francis said Bogle "is more than a hero based on what he has done in Jamaica, because of his stance against injustice and for the development of the people who were suffering".
Francis said he is inspired by Bogle. "And so I make sure the things that I do fall in line with some of his teachings."
One way in which Francis has incorporated Bogle's philosophy into his lifestyle is through his involvement in the Scout group for which he has been a leader at the Elderslie Primary and Junior High for the last 30 years.
Francis told The Gleaner that he started the group at the age of 19, when he first took up teaching duties at the school.
He said the decision was borne out of the need to enhance discipline without resorting to corporal punishment. Francis said he started with a small group of 20 students, which took a while to be uniformed.
In addition to regular club meetings, which serve as a socialisation tool for the members and the mandatory camp, his Scout troop has always majored in beatification of the campus.
The Scout leader said policemen, security guards and other categories of workers have come out of his group.
He said there was an unsettled student who had behavioural problems, and upon joining the Scout group, he was transformed and is now a soldier.
Francis told The Gleaner that he is big on discipline and that some form of military action would help with indiscipline in schools.
SENSE OF SATISFACTION
"It has given me a sense of satisfaction to know that I can use Scout to maintain discipline and standard," he told The Gleaner.
Francis is also passionate about the environment and has undertaken the planting of evergreen trees and ornamental flowers within the vicinity of the school and throughout the community.
"I am for the preservation of the environment. This area is exposed to soil erosion. [The trees and flowers have] created an ambience and attraction for visitors. When tourists pass by, they take pictures and so on."
Francis received an award from the St Elizabeth branch of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission for his contribution to the Scout Movement and community development. He told The Gleaner that he is "extremely elated about the award and does not plan to reduce his community involvement anytime soon."