Categorized | Features, General, Local

A tribute – Haycene Ryan

He was no stool pigeon

by Man from Baker Hill

Haycene 'Chico' Ryan

Law is the dominating principle in the universe; righteousness is the moulding and moving force in the spiritual government of the world; and Justice is the soul and substance of life.

Haycene Ryan believed in doing the right thing and he looked to the Law, as he sought to be just in whatever he put in his mind to do. To do the right thing and to be just, according to law were his standards.  And he lived in accordance to his standards, passionately.

Martin Luther King Jr. said that we must judge a man according to his standards, not by our standards.  Jesus ‘the Christ’ did not condemn the woman at the well; he judged her by her standards. It seems to me, then, that we should not judge and condemn a man unless we understand all his circumstances. But circumstances are so complicated and vary so vastly with individuals that a man’s entire life cannot be judged from the external aspects of his life alone.

But if to develop your God-given talents so as to provide pride and joy to your countrymen is goodness, Haycene was good.

And if to avow your principles and to discharge your duty as a tax collector fearlessly in 21st century Montserrat is heroic… Haycene was a hero.

Haycene and I met at Montserrat Secondary School (MSS) around 1965. We worked at the Montserrat Port Authority as department managers from 1978 to 1987. And during the last 20 years we were two of Montserrat’s socio-political commentators.  We journeyed from acquaintance to genuine friendship. As a result I had many experiences with him. I shall share a few.

In the year 1972, I received a gift by parcel post. Haycene was the customs officer who examined the gift; he charged me fifty something dollars duty.  To me that was a lot of money and I was shocked. But the law required him to charge that rate of duty; and he asked me to pay it.

We were friends and he wanted us to do the right thing.

During the period 1978 to 1987 we both worked at the Montserrat Port Authority. He was head of the operations department and I was the head of the finance department.  There were times that my department would waive an importer’s penalty for excess storage and there were a few times that Haycene would examine the importer’s receipt and send him back to pay the storage penalty. It was the law to pay a penalty for excess storage and Haycene expected us to treat every importer alike.

In 1999 I declared to the Inland Revenue department additional income that I deliberately left out from my tax return for a number of years.  At that time Haycene was the Comptroller of the Inland Revenue Department; when he received my declaration he promptly called me and congratulated me for my honesty.  But within a month I received an assessment from his department which took me eight years to payoff. He treated me according to the law.

When it came to his work and the law, our friendship took a back seat.   But we remained friends; because we respected each other’s standards.

Haycene was not only single-minded in his concern for doing the right thing. He was also single-minded in his aim to be a cricketer. He was dedicated, steadfast and resolute.

Many years ago, one day in 1967 to be precise, the two of us, just the two of us, we were batting on the Montserrat Secondary school concrete cricket pitch. It was lunch time. Back then children did not stay at school during the lunch break; they would walk home or go in town at either Mother Allen or Joan’s bakery for lunch. However four boys ate lunch at school, Paul Payne, his twin brothers and I. But that day Haycene stayed, and the two of us were batting. He bowled me down; he hit the top part of the metal chair we used as stumps, at least six times in quick succession.  And all he said was bat, man bat; and he continued to bowl.

That incident stayed with me for ever. And only recently during his retirement party that I reminded him of it and asked how he learned to bat and bowl so well at age fifteen.

He said, “John, you recall that I entered Secondary school as a big boy. Before that, all I ever wanted to do was to play cricket for Montserrat; but the Nuns told me if I really wanted to play for Montserrat I had to go to Secondary school.”  Now you know how Haycene Ryan became the Cricketer who played for Montserrat.

Haycene’s was more than cricket and sticking to the word of the Law; his desire to do the right thing began  the collapse of the powerful PLM government. In 1991 he was able to convince the late Honourable J. Bengie Chalmers, Minister of Communications and works, to do the right thing and to withhold payment to a shipping company who charged the Public Works department excessive freight rates. The late Honourable Minister did the right thing and ultimately the PLM government disintegrated.

Haycene Ryan: he was no stool pigeon!

He captained the1968 Montserrat Secondary School cricket team that participated in the Montserrat cricket league that year… He was a natural leader.

Haycene started his ice cream business very early in his life; I believe it was in 1979.  The rest is history.  He was a risk taker. He was an entrepreneur.

He was the first person I knew to start his own personal pension fund. Because he was a contract officer, the Montserrat Port Authority refused to pay provident fund contributions for him in 1978. And similarly in 1980 when the Port Authority Board refused him membership of the Port Authority pension scheme, he arranged with the insurance agent to open his personal pension fund. He was a financial planner.

Again in 1980, he took on with passion the word ‘Solidarity’. He believed in the Polish solidarity movement and its leader Lech Walesa. He often reminded me about the time he took a stand and marched in solidarity with the civil servants against the PLM government. He was a union man.

He was a founding member of the OECS Association of Port Managers. In the 1980’s we travelled together to many port managers’ conferences. He was forward thinking. He was a pioneer.

In the 1990’s he became the Controller of Inland Revenue. He taxed. And like Mathew of the Bible fame, he earned a reputation. And the rest is history. He was a tax collector who always sought to apply the Law to the last word.

During the last twenty years he quietly penned articles of social and economic interest. He published a book of essays and articles. Jon Bardis was one of his pen names. He was a prolific writer.

Haycene was not easily offended. But if you mentioned the Montserrat Non-Sequitur proverb ‘STUDIATION BEAT EDUCATION’, you would have received the full measure of his wrath. Haycene was an educated man.

Somewhere along life’s journey I learned that to be successful in this life, a man should plant a tree, have a child and or write a book. In doing those things he would be sure to have created an influence for good in this life, which lives on after his days on earth are done.

Haycene Ryan…, he wrote a book.

Haycene understood how to build and maintain friendships. He coloured my life with his friendship; he treated me as one of his friends. He told me of his plans to get married. He told me the name he was going to call his son. He shared his plans to further his education and wherever he went he informed of his progress. He often brought his grandson to visit me. Last year he gave me four special lime trees and made certain I planted them.  Around June 2011, he told me that he was going to England to celebrate his 60th birthday. Shortly after his arrival in the UK, he informed me that he was ill and when he realized that his illness was terminal, he wrote me a very personal letter and slipped in the post. .

We shared a great relationship. He honoured me with friendship; yet it was only during his illness that I asked his wife about his parents and siblings. I did not know all his circumstances.   I will not judge him. I cannot!

But I believe Haycene found favour with God, the infinite spirit. And if so I have no doubts that he has returned to the bosom of God, the mansion in his father’s house from whence he came.  He made the ultimate transition, his sojourn with us is over… and in perfect accordance with the divine laws of the universe where nothing happens by chance, it must have been the righteous thing, at the right time….

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

He was no stool pigeon

by Man from Baker Hill

Haycene 'Chico' Ryan

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Law is the dominating principle in the universe; righteousness is the moulding and moving force in the spiritual government of the world; and Justice is the soul and substance of life.

Haycene Ryan believed in doing the right thing and he looked to the Law, as he sought to be just in whatever he put in his mind to do. To do the right thing and to be just, according to law were his standards.  And he lived in accordance to his standards, passionately.

Martin Luther King Jr. said that we must judge a man according to his standards, not by our standards.  Jesus ‘the Christ’ did not condemn the woman at the well; he judged her by her standards. It seems to me, then, that we should not judge and condemn a man unless we understand all his circumstances. But circumstances are so complicated and vary so vastly with individuals that a man’s entire life cannot be judged from the external aspects of his life alone.

But if to develop your God-given talents so as to provide pride and joy to your countrymen is goodness, Haycene was good.

And if to avow your principles and to discharge your duty as a tax collector fearlessly in 21st century Montserrat is heroic… Haycene was a hero.

Haycene and I met at Montserrat Secondary School (MSS) around 1965. We worked at the Montserrat Port Authority as department managers from 1978 to 1987. And during the last 20 years we were two of Montserrat’s socio-political commentators.  We journeyed from acquaintance to genuine friendship. As a result I had many experiences with him. I shall share a few.

In the year 1972, I received a gift by parcel post. Haycene was the customs officer who examined the gift; he charged me fifty something dollars duty.  To me that was a lot of money and I was shocked. But the law required him to charge that rate of duty; and he asked me to pay it.

We were friends and he wanted us to do the right thing.

During the period 1978 to 1987 we both worked at the Montserrat Port Authority. He was head of the operations department and I was the head of the finance department.  There were times that my department would waive an importer’s penalty for excess storage and there were a few times that Haycene would examine the importer’s receipt and send him back to pay the storage penalty. It was the law to pay a penalty for excess storage and Haycene expected us to treat every importer alike.

In 1999 I declared to the Inland Revenue department additional income that I deliberately left out from my tax return for a number of years.  At that time Haycene was the Comptroller of the Inland Revenue Department; when he received my declaration he promptly called me and congratulated me for my honesty.  But within a month I received an assessment from his department which took me eight years to payoff. He treated me according to the law.

When it came to his work and the law, our friendship took a back seat.   But we remained friends; because we respected each other’s standards.

Haycene was not only single-minded in his concern for doing the right thing. He was also single-minded in his aim to be a cricketer. He was dedicated, steadfast and resolute.

Many years ago, one day in 1967 to be precise, the two of us, just the two of us, we were batting on the Montserrat Secondary school concrete cricket pitch. It was lunch time. Back then children did not stay at school during the lunch break; they would walk home or go in town at either Mother Allen or Joan’s bakery for lunch. However four boys ate lunch at school, Paul Payne, his twin brothers and I. But that day Haycene stayed, and the two of us were batting. He bowled me down; he hit the top part of the metal chair we used as stumps, at least six times in quick succession.  And all he said was bat, man bat; and he continued to bowl.

That incident stayed with me for ever. And only recently during his retirement party that I reminded him of it and asked how he learned to bat and bowl so well at age fifteen.

He said, “John, you recall that I entered Secondary school as a big boy. Before that, all I ever wanted to do was to play cricket for Montserrat; but the Nuns told me if I really wanted to play for Montserrat I had to go to Secondary school.”  Now you know how Haycene Ryan became the Cricketer who played for Montserrat.

Haycene’s was more than cricket and sticking to the word of the Law; his desire to do the right thing began  the collapse of the powerful PLM government. In 1991 he was able to convince the late Honourable J. Bengie Chalmers, Minister of Communications and works, to do the right thing and to withhold payment to a shipping company who charged the Public Works department excessive freight rates. The late Honourable Minister did the right thing and ultimately the PLM government disintegrated.

Haycene Ryan: he was no stool pigeon!

He captained the1968 Montserrat Secondary School cricket team that participated in the Montserrat cricket league that year… He was a natural leader.

Haycene started his ice cream business very early in his life; I believe it was in 1979.  The rest is history.  He was a risk taker. He was an entrepreneur.

He was the first person I knew to start his own personal pension fund. Because he was a contract officer, the Montserrat Port Authority refused to pay provident fund contributions for him in 1978. And similarly in 1980 when the Port Authority Board refused him membership of the Port Authority pension scheme, he arranged with the insurance agent to open his personal pension fund. He was a financial planner.

Again in 1980, he took on with passion the word ‘Solidarity’. He believed in the Polish solidarity movement and its leader Lech Walesa. He often reminded me about the time he took a stand and marched in solidarity with the civil servants against the PLM government. He was a union man.

He was a founding member of the OECS Association of Port Managers. In the 1980’s we travelled together to many port managers’ conferences. He was forward thinking. He was a pioneer.

In the 1990’s he became the Controller of Inland Revenue. He taxed. And like Mathew of the Bible fame, he earned a reputation. And the rest is history. He was a tax collector who always sought to apply the Law to the last word.

During the last twenty years he quietly penned articles of social and economic interest. He published a book of essays and articles. Jon Bardis was one of his pen names. He was a prolific writer.

Haycene was not easily offended. But if you mentioned the Montserrat Non-Sequitur proverb ‘STUDIATION BEAT EDUCATION’, you would have received the full measure of his wrath. Haycene was an educated man.

Somewhere along life’s journey I learned that to be successful in this life, a man should plant a tree, have a child and or write a book. In doing those things he would be sure to have created an influence for good in this life, which lives on after his days on earth are done.

Haycene Ryan…, he wrote a book.

Haycene understood how to build and maintain friendships. He coloured my life with his friendship; he treated me as one of his friends. He told me of his plans to get married. He told me the name he was going to call his son. He shared his plans to further his education and wherever he went he informed of his progress. He often brought his grandson to visit me. Last year he gave me four special lime trees and made certain I planted them.  Around June 2011, he told me that he was going to England to celebrate his 60th birthday. Shortly after his arrival in the UK, he informed me that he was ill and when he realized that his illness was terminal, he wrote me a very personal letter and slipped in the post. .

We shared a great relationship. He honoured me with friendship; yet it was only during his illness that I asked his wife about his parents and siblings. I did not know all his circumstances.   I will not judge him. I cannot!

But I believe Haycene found favour with God, the infinite spirit. And if so I have no doubts that he has returned to the bosom of God, the mansion in his father’s house from whence he came.  He made the ultimate transition, his sojourn with us is over… and in perfect accordance with the divine laws of the universe where nothing happens by chance, it must have been the righteous thing, at the right time….

 

.

 

 

.