Monday, 29 May 2023 12:20

Jamaican business giant Lascelles Chin dies; tributes flowing

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Legendary Jamaican businessman, philanthropist and founder of the LASCO Affiliated Companies, Lascelles Chin, has died.

Chin, 86, reportedly died on Saturday night in Florida, United States.

The cause of his death remains unknown at this time.

Chin's pioneering work as an entrepreneur and philanthropist has earned him admiration as one of Jamaica and the Caribbean's most distinguished and honoured business leaders.

In 2021, he was the recipient of the nation's fourth highest civilian honour, the Order of Jamaica, for his philanthropy and his contribution to the development of commerce and business locally.

Born in Bog Walk, St Catherine, Chin, from an early age, demonstrated the skills and attributes which were to make him a successful businessman.

In 1961, at the age of 23, with savings of £175, he entered the business sector and began importing black pepper from the Far East, and peas from Portugal and the United States, according to his well-publicised biography.

He then expanded his entrepreneurial activities to partner with German company, Henkel Limited in 1965, on learning of a plan to establish an adhesive plant in Jamaica.

He was to assumed the role of Chairman and Managing Director of Henkel’s operations in Jamaica, and eventually made Jamaica the highest per capita user of Henkel adhesives in the entire world.

Chin's business acumen, work experience and expertise, were brought to bear on the successful establishment of the LASCO Affiliated Companies in 1988.

The group now manufactures and distributes over 300 products with the LASCO brand name.

Aside from business, Chin has given leadership skills to numerous organisations locally in several capacities.

These include: the Jamaica Industrial Development Corporation (JIDC) as the former chairman; Jamaica Exporter's Association (JEA), and Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO).

He was also as a director on the University of the West Indies (UWI) School of Nursing Advisory Board, and the King’s House Foundation.

Several glowing tributes have been flowing on social media for the renowned businessman.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness tweeted on Sunday that he was "deeply saddened" by the passing of the Jamaican business giant.

"His entrepreneurial prowess transformed LASCO into a household name, while his philanthropy uplifted countless lives," said Holness.

"A visionary leader and advocate for change, his legacy will forever inspire us. Rest in peace, Mr Chin," he added.

South East St Ann Member of Parliament (MP) and Miss World 1993 winner, Lisa Hanna, said she had known Chin for over 30 years.

"We first met at the Miss Jamaica World pageant in 1993, where he was one of the judges. Since then we kept in touch as I traversed various spheres," she said.

"He’s pivotal in uplifting Jamaicans and their quality of life through ensuring they could afford to eat and feed their children," Hanna stated, adding that "We will miss his pioneering approaches to manufacturing and brand development."

Meanwhile, entrepreneur and CEO of EduFocal Group, Gordon Swaby, said Chin's passing is "sad news".

"An entrepreneurial legend, champion of the local equities market and a patriotic Jamaican," said Gordon in his tribute.

"Rest in peace, Sir Chin, and condolences to his family and friends," the businessman tweeted.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator Matthew Samuda, described Chin as “a titan of industry, an innovator and a philanthropist”.

Opposition Spokesman on National Security, Senator Peter Bunting, described Chin as “an inspiration to local entrepreneurs with his formation of LASCO, and a pioneer of corporate social responsibility with his LASCO Awards for teachers, cops and nurses.”

Many persons who worked with the LASCO Affiliated Companies or did business with them also expressed their thoughts on Chin’s passing.

Racquel Williams, who said Chin was her first boss after she left university in the late 1990s, said he was “the absolute best mentor”.

“Much of who I am professionally I owe to this man. He taught me so much that spilled into my personal life as well and influenced who I am as a person. Money management being one of them (he always told us, ‘It's not what you earn, it's what you save),” Williams posted on Facebook.

Meanwhile, LASCO/Ministry of Education Teacher of the Year for 2019, Amorkard T Brown, said Chin told him, "I have a special love for teachers because my success is as a result of the wonderful teachers I had."