Article By: PROF RAMESH DEOSARAN
Source: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday
Date: Sunday 4th January, 2015
Generosity. This comes from the word “generous” which means “magnanimous, noble-minded, unprejudiced.” (Concise Oxford Dictionary).
Generosity is a vital element of what is called social capital, that is, the extent to which a community cooperates, exchanges trust and goodwill, produces collective achievements and shares a core of civic values.
It is vital because it drives economic prosperity. And so, as I witnessed last month’s signing of an agreement between the Ansa McAl Foundation’s chairman, Anthony Sabga, and the University of the West Indies (UWI, St Augustine) principal and Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Clement Sankat, the word “generosity” came alive in my mind. The “generosity” of Anthony N Sabga, (Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, UWI) And with good reason too.
In 1989, I benefitted from his generosity in unprecedented ways. As Ansa McAl chairman then, he arranged for the conglomerate’s foundation to build what is now known as the Ansa McAl Psychological Research Centre, now headed by Professor Derek Chadee and supported by Faculty of Social Sciences Dean, Mr Errol Simms.
Much more, last month (December 1), Mr Sabga as chairman of the Ansa McAl Foundation and Ansa McAl chairman Norman Sabga signed off on a multi-million dollar project- to build a Guardian Media School of Journalism and the Anthony N Sabga School of Entrepreneurship, and expand the existing Ansa McAl Psychological Research Centre at the UWI. The UWI Campus Principal, Professor Sankat, gratefully noted that this “Ansa McAl contribution is the largest benefaction given to the University of the West Indies by any of our private sector, including the multi-nationals.”
The very demeanour of Mr Anthony Sabga sparks generosity. Always ready with a charming smile and warm hand shake, he easily draws you into pleasant conversation. And now, going over 90 years, he and his generosity have shaped the Ansa McAl conglomerate into the leading philanthropic private sector institution in the Caribbean. Mr Sabga has long created a high level state-private sector partnership, regardless of which government is in power. His talents go high above just “business skills.”
There is always a new vision tickling Mr Sabga’s imagination – most of it for the country’s benefit. If not the condominium towers at Bayside, there is the Caribbean Awards for Excellence. Those close around him will tell you, Mr Sabga gets re-energised by crafting out yet another new project, leaving them to ask “what next?”
Bearing the names “Guardian Media” and “Anthony N Sabga” respectively – it is a fitting tribute to the Ansa McAl conglomerate, but in my view, knowing the person as I do, moreso both are tributes to the vision and national commitment of Mr Anthony Sabga, chairman Emeritus of Ansa McAl, Doctor of Laws, and a quiet benefactor to so many other good causes. For example, the equally quiet, spiritually-driven beneficiary – the Living Water Community, founded in 1981 by Rhonda Maingot and Rose Jackman. The word “generous” means more than just “giving.” It also means “noble-minded.” Of course, Mr Sabga has his chinks. I have witnessed his impatience – to put it mildly – when things are not going right. But quite remarkable, for a man so empowered and resource-rich, he bears no grudges and again, from what I know, is not a spiteful or vindictive person. Except that when he means business, he means business. You must understand that. He could not be less in order to achieve what he has – starting at age 13 in his father’s business and walking the streets selling cloth from a grip.
Three weeks ago, I celebrated the virtue and value of “gratitude” in a society as ours. Today I salute Mr Sabga and the multi-purpose enterprise he has so diligently and courageously nurtured, having at his side the kind of family support that helps build empires and deserving succession. In fact, his “nobility” is also manifested in the way he has kept his family – large as it is – well-bonded and benefactors of his enterprising values. I also salute Mr Sabga, his work, his good manners and his kindness because I am growing quite fed up with the rowdiness, the hating and spite that seem to be unduly overtaking our better selves.
Ansa McAl chairman, Norman Sabga, at the UWI ceremony, said that private sector should help build the nation’s economy. Last week, Minister of Planning and Sustainable Development Dr Bhoe Tewarie also appealed for the private sector to take more energetic steps to help diversify the country’s economic structure. Mr Sabga’s vision and the Ansa McAl Group should lend some stimulation for the establishment of a Tripartite Council with Government, the private sector and labour. There is no better time than now. As Professor Emeritus of the UWI, I salute you, Mr Sabga, for all that you have done for this country and the region and for what you may well continue to do for us.
Article Link: http://www.newsday.co.tt/commentary/0,205072.html
Corporate Communications Department
ANSA McAL Group of Companies
Tuesday 06th January, 2015
Tel: (868) 625-3670-75