April 2023 Volume 19


Professor Stephen Vasciannie
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By the time he arrived at North Street in September 1973, Delano Franklyn could swing the cricket ball in both directions. You might play for the inswinger only to give a thick outside edge to the fielder in the gully. Or, you could play for the outswinger only to hear the cracking sound of your middle stump being knocked back on to the pitch.


This was by Third Form, but from First Form Delano marked himself out as one of the leading pace bowlers at KC’s Melbourne Park. There were really four “firemen” in his year: “Dicko” Dixon who grew up under the shadows of Sabina Park, John Murdock with the long, fast run-up of a steam train, Peter Smith, a “leftie” with the height and pace of “Big Bird” Garner, and Delano. Delano was probably not the quickest of the bowlers -- that award would have to go to Smith or Murdock. Nor did he have the most devastating bouncer -- for that Dicko was the ruler. But Delano stood out for consistency: he was always penetrative, always on a challenging line and length, and, most of all, always delivering positive results for his team. These cricketing characteristics were to stay with Delano in the many and varied paths of life that he took up in later years.

Delano did not confine himself to pace bowling. As a cricketer in his teen years, young Franklyn had a strong arm. He had, in particular, the pronounced ability to hit cover drives with the power to tear your socks off. According to memory, when he hit that “cork and tar” ball, you made sure that you were not in the way. In truth, he was a touch tentative to full length off breaks (such as those coming from classmates Richard Francis or Courtney Sinclair), but he hammered all short deliveries confidently down to the old pavilion that once overlooked the Melbourne cricket field. Among class contemporaries, probably only Andrew Tuckett could hit the ball as hard as Franklin.

A Question

This recollection of the “Lano’s” outstanding cricket prowess -- prowess no doubt honed from his rural roots in Aleppo, St. Mary and nourished at the College -- raises a question for aficionados. Why didn’t Delano play Sunlight Cup cricket for KC? After all, up to Fourth Form, he was truly outstanding, and in Second Form, he had successfully represented the All Star team in the annual match at Winchester Park against St. Georges College. The answer, it seems to me, is political, with a heroic “p”. Delano gave up cricket, perhaps akin to the “silken dalliance” in the wardrobe of the youth, for the fire of political hustings.

By the time Delano reached the Fifth Form he had committed his life to the political advancement of Jamaican people. In about 1975 or 1976, Delano became a major soldier in the serious business of bringing about social and economic change in this country. Michael Manley was an early source of major inspiration for Delano: ideologically, then, Delano started on the Democratic Socialist left and then tended further left, possibly greeting the Workers’ Liberation League and the Workers’ Party of Jamaica along the way. In subsequent years, he returned to the PNP centre, there to play an active role as Special Adviser to Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, then to serve as a thoughtful Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and later still as Special Adviser to Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller.


Delano brought intellectual strength and tenacity into his political arguments, because he was, above all, an intellectual. To revert once again to the formative Melbourne years, Lano (as he was sometimes called) assumed the Fortis mantle in September 1971, coming with Bruce Polson and others from Norman Gardens Primary. He joined a First Form that included, among many others, “Beaver” McKoy, “Half-Pint” Smith, “Staf” Stafford, “Screechy” Mitchell, Howard Walters, “GB” Brown, Richie Dyche, “Becky” Beckford, Dougie McKenzie, Charlton Collie, Colin Gabay, Archie “The Vet” Phillips, “Stumbo” Hylton, Maurice Matthie and “Millip Philler”.

Delano’s strong performance in school took him to Teachers College and then to UWI where he flourished in his law studies. His qualifications did not confine him to legal technicalities, for he had a broad vision of life. Among other things, he published The Right Move: Corporate Leadership and Governance in Jamaica (2001) and edited A Jamaican Voice in Caribbean and World Politics: P.J. Patterson Selected Speeches 1992 – 2000 (2002). He also edited Michael Manley: Putting People First (2013), a book with 10 lectures given to the Michael Manley Foundation by some established and emerging members of the Caribbean intelligentsia. He was a politician with a love for books – a fact which was foreshadowed by his appreciation of English Literature in the exciting classes with Mrs. B. Urquhart at Melbourne. In one of those classes, Delano scored 94% in a difficult final examination about Jack Schaefer’s Shane, a memorable feat because Mrs. Urquhart tended to give the best English essays little more than 70%, and certainly not 90%!

Here, I should also note that Delano was also keen on the elements of Economics, and especially on MR, or the concept of Marginal Revenue, and its relationship with Marginal Cost.


The young Delano had a refreshing sense of humour. True, he did not rise to the heights of Noel Leon (whose name is a palindrome in every respect), but he had his moments. Mr. Bair, an illustrious but stern Geography Teacher, once told the 2nd Form class about Cayenne (French Guiana): “Yes, class, please repeat, ‘Cayenne’, for me”. Franklin, the humourist, led the class by repeating “Cayenne for me!”, instead of just “Cayenne”, an approach that evoked group laughter, especially when Mr. Bair joined in by giving Delano a deliberate and obvious “plastic smile”.

Group laughter also erupted when Delano, at 12 years of age, read at school assembly the beautiful Love Chapter from First Corinthians, Chapter 13: “When I was a child, I spake as a child”, Delano offered in a high treble. “But now that I am a man I have put away childish ways”, he then intoned switching to the senior bass voice of a 50 year old man. Not even the disciplinarian Vice Principal, Mr. Carlton Bruce, could keep a straight face that morning.

Rowe Row

When Delano was a child, he reveled in the glories of Lawrence Rowe. From Melbourne Park we all celebrated Rowe’s world record-breaking 212 and 100 not out on debut in 1972, dancing and singing at school as if we were in the raucous stands at Sabina Park. Bliss was it that day to be alive, and “to be young was very heaven”.

And yet when Delano became manly he had to put away the youthful admiration of Lawrence Rowe firmly to support a policy that barred Rowe’s restoration to the pantheon of West Indies cricket. This must have been a difficult task for Delano, but he had the historic cause of anti- apartheid equality in his heart. This cause trumped Delano’s personal cricket-loving sentiments even 30 years after Rowe’s participation in the rebel South African cricket tour of 1983.

Mr. Fix-It

For much of his life, Delano Roosevelt Franklin was a Mr. Fix-It. As President of the KC Students’ Council, as President of the Mico Students Association, and as President of the Guild of Students at UWI, Mona and Cave Hill, he powerfully led the march for greater State support for tertiary education. As Minister of State, he helped to ensure that Jamaica’s archipelagic baseline system received acceptance in the Law of the Sea (a technical but important issue); and as a lawyer, he was a strong advocate of the Caribbean Court of Justice, publishing a leading book of parliamentary presentations on the subject under the title We Want Justice (2004). Through the firm Wilson & Franklyn (founded 1998) and in his personal capacity, he also quietly served as a lawyer for various projects including some associated with the KC Old Boys’ Association.

Delano Roosevelt Franklyn was named after the American president. Up to the KC years, he was “Franklin”, but he noted that this was changed by the authorities to “Franklyn” at some stage, a not unfamiliar Jamaican phenomenon. His presidential namesake espoused upliftment for the poor through the New Deal for the USA. It is fair to say that a New Deal approach, when combined with the heady rhetoric of Jamaica in the 1970s, set Delano on the lifelong path towards equality, fairness and justice for all.


His life was much too short, but in his 63 years, he has done his family and his society proud. His KC comrades in the pavilion and beyond – those who remember his fiery pace bowling and those who do not -- must all give a sad but loving “Fortis!” to a true College man, a fighter for righteousness.

The brave may fall but never yield!

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