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ANSA McAL Awards — Inspiring Innovation

Helen Drayton


It also inspires productivity and excellence in community outreach. ANSA McAL’s Web site describes the conglomerate as the “best place to be, the best place to invest.”

Whatever those who interface or work with the group of companies may feel about the institution, few would dispute that it exemplifies enterprise, productivity and excellence in community outreach. Let me declare that I am not just a passing commentator.

Way back in time, and long before it became a $12.2 billion multinational enterprise, I was part of the team at Corbin-Compton Advertising that handled advertising and promotions for Standard Distributors Limited, Charles McEnearney, Alstons Limited, Stokes and Bynoe (the latter three were acquired by the ANSA Group), and a Trinidad Flagship furniture store, fondly known as Standards.

Memorable was the agency’s contribution to the branding of Carib Beer. I recall it was during the dawn of 1973, when it created the classic slogan: “A beer is a Carib,” in anticipation of the threat from Stag, which the National Brewing Company had launched that same year. In 2014, I joined the local committee for The Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Awards, and, of course, this newspaper is a member of the group.

The group is a regional leader and shaper of Caribbean business. Its founder, Dr Anthony N Sabga, is a titan among regional citizens who have shone lights of distinction for this country. Our energy resources are not the only attributes that brought us respect as Caricom’s economic leader. Eminent entrepreneurs, academicians, jurists, doctors, artists, writers, poets and others have also defined our premier position.

The patriarch and founder of the group through the ANSA McAL Foundation made significant contributions to the region through its many community outreach programmes.

It has distinguished its philanthropy by establishing The Guardian Media Limited School of Journalism, and the ANSA McAL Psychological Research Centre, which it constructed. In the pipeline, is the Dr Anthony N Sabga School of Entrepreneurship.

The Caribbean Awards for Excellence founded in 2005 is the leading programme in the Caribbean that gives recognition to citizens for excellence in the arts, science and technology, and public and civic work.

This programme may yet prove to be a decisive instrument of change as it rewards and encourages citizens to transform ideas into viable products and services that benefit the region. The group demonstrates its conviction that we are capable of building sustainable quality in our lives through the native genius, at the same time, signifying its confidence in the people of the region.

There are those who say companies invest in social programmes for private gain.

I often discuss with university students the doctrine of enlightened self-interest and the benefits to society of genuine philanthropy. We should not speculate on investments that produce tangible and intangible returns to communities in the continuum as if these were pretentious strategies. There are significant benefits to humanity from every cent companies spend in poverty relief, education and research and development. These are investments in our future. A company is only as resilient as the community that gives it the franchise to operate. Smart leaders appreciate that fact. Relevant to society, are the productive interventions in lives, the motivation of people to do great things, and the building of uniquely innovative civilisations.

The four 2015 Laureates were revolutionaries. The Regional Awards Committee recognised Professor Suresh S Narine for his contributions to science and technology in his native Guyana, in North America and elsewhere. Among his many achievements, his intervention in 2005 revived the Guyanese Institute of Applied Science & Technology (IAST), which had virtually collapsed.

He remodelled it into the premier regional institution of its kind. Under his direction, IAST was critical in the implementation of a low carbon approach to development, which minimises deforestation, and conserves Guyana’s pristine ecology. For use in gold mining, it created substitutes to the environmentally-destructive mercury.

Professor Patrick Hosein’s projects included introducing the Internet to Trinidad and Tobago. For over two decades, he worked with companies at the forefront of the emerging cellular communications revolution, including Ericsson, Huawei, and AT&T. His efforts resulted in 35 global patents in telecommunications, wireless communications, mathematics, and 75 peer-reviewed publications.

For the arts, the committee recognised the lifetime creative work of Dr Paloma Mohamed Martin of Guyana, in the areas of Gender Studies, Media, and Sociology. She has written and performed more than 30 plays, published two collections of poetry, nine books of creative work and contributed to 14 major art projects, including Healing Arts.

Mr Herbert Samuel of St Vincent and the Grenadines created in 2009, the Welectricity Web Application, which manages and monitors domestic energy consumption. It received international recognition. The committee lauded his achievements in sustainable energy and web-based technologies.

How much will this country and the region gain if governments spent more time fostering and rewarding exemplary productivity? ANSA McAL continues to build not only its core businesses, but also the countries in which it operates.

Taken from: Trinidad Guardian
Story by: Helen Drayton
Date: Sunday 19th April, 2015
Page: A21, Commentary

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