Business Observer Lifetime Achievement awardees acceptance speeches

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Today, the Business Observer publishes the acceptance speeches by Lifetime Achievement awardees Karl Hendrickson and Sameer Younis at last week's Jamaica Observer Business Leader Awards. Hendrickson is the man behind the creation of Jamaica's largest bakery empire -- the National Continental Group -- while Younis founded Fabrics de Younis garment stores and created a network of stores including Samm's, which employed dozens of Jamaicans and later became a household name.

It has been a great journey

First of all, kindly allow me to congratulate all the Foreign Investor nominees.

I am sure they have been chosen because of the impact and changes they have brought to Jamaica over the last 10 to 15 years.

They have impacted profoundly on our lives. Individually they have transformed the way we communicate with one another.

They have added a new dimension to our largest industry, Tourism and triggered a construction boom in that industry.

They have been major players in the rebuilding of companies and they have grown these companies. They have given great encouragement to wealth creation and optimism.

They have been wonderful examples of philanthropy and support of our education, social, cultural and sporting life, and they are spearheading the redevelopment of our City.

As for me, I thank you, Chairman, Butch Stewart, and your Board for honouring me with this Lifetime Award.

Along the way it has been a great journey. Coming home from college, full of energy and a dream -- to build a modern bakery.

So fortunate to be a part of the expectant and thoughtful 50's as we exuberantly approached Independence.

Then entering Independence and having the opportunity of living the heady days of the 60's, with the excitement and optimism when everything was possible, and the mentality was 'CAN DO' -- and we did.

Then the turbulent and passionate 70's that shaped so much of our lives as well as that of our country.

The 80's in which we restructured and reorganized. And after that, the careful and watchful years that followed up to the present as Jamaica always chased the evasive growth, yet was open to such a wide range of opportunities. A time when the building of infrastructure such as roads, communications and airports prepared us for the future.

And during that time, Jamaica also conquered the world in music, culture and sport --and made us very proud. Always, in whatever I was involved, I tried to be transformative and innovative, loving production and manufacturing, and eventually, the hospitality industry, all with their constantly changing markets and challenges.

But my greatest success was the fact that I have a good wife and dedicated, hard working children, who took the baton in the mid-90's and on the run they started their own journeys.

They have made both Nell and myself very proud. Tonight I thank you very much for this recognition and I wish your newspaper continued success.

- The Honourable Karl R Hendrickson, OJ, CD

Family life is key

Mr Chairman, Mr. Ed Khoury; distinguished guest; fellow awardees, ladies and gentlemen;

I would like to thank all members of the Observer team, their CEO Ed Khoury and especially their chairman Gordon Butch Stewart for bestowing on me this great honour.

I am indeed pleased to have been recognised in this way.

As a Jamaican who has had the experience and time to examine what I feel are the most urgents ills of this nation; it would be remiss of me if I did not mention those obstacles which are the lack of family life and family values.

I strongly believe that most of the urgent needs of our society could be effectively addressed in the long term if we could give focus to addressing our family life!

This, I believe, is the foundation of any country for education begins at home, discipline, work ethics, respect are much needed tools to turn this country and economy around.

If you would permit me just to add a few words about something I feel most passionately abou. I believe that we cannot keep having children and not give them love, attention, discipline, and guidance; and teach them as our beautiful national anthem states: "True respect for all"

That does not cost anything but it can change everything!

So tonight I call on all members of the corporate society and is agencies to help to fund and be involved in a mass media public education programme to launch a family life and family value campaign. It will benefit Jamaica Long into the future!

So; thank you for allowing me to say these few words, and thank you most humbly for recognizing me with this award. Thank you Jamaica Observer!

Sameer Younis, CD, JP