In commemoration of 125 years of business from 1881- 2006 , the ANSA McAL Group last week launched its long awaited publication- The History of the ANSA McAL Group of Companies – 125 Years of Business in the Caribbean. The elegant event took place in the Board Room of ANSA McAL’s corporate offices at Maraval Road, Port of Spain.
The anniversary publication of over 400 photographs, 200 plus page anniversary publication chronicles the ANSA McAL story which began in 1881 with the predecessor company, Geo. R. Alstons & Co. The publication draws largely on company records and publications; and oral history interviews to illustrate the historical business account of the three companies which were merged to form ANSA McAL and of the new conglomerate, the ANSA McAL Group of Companies in more recent years. These companies are Alstons & Co – founded in 1881, McEnearney & Co. Ltd in 1919, and ANSA in 1945. It also provides a living narrative of the three remarkable Caribbean Entrepreneurs who led these companies – George Alston, Charles McEnearney and Anthony N. Sabga.
Since the 1980s, the ANSA McAL Group has recognised the need to document its history, which has made an indelible mark on the societal and economical landscape of Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean. Amidst several previous attempts to chronicle over 100 years of operations, in 2005 the company’s executive deliberated the following year’s 125th Anniversary commemorative activities and in January 2006, the Paria Publishing Company was commissioned to produce this historical publication.
(l) T. Robert de Montbrun chats with Dr. Anthony Sabga, Chairman Emeritus and Mark Conyers.
|The evening brought together several former and current directors and longstanding employees of the Group. These specially invited guests included Dr. Anthony N. Sabga, Chairman Emeritus; A. Norman Sabga, Chairman and Chief Executive; Gerry C.Brooks, Chief Operating Officer; David Inglefield, President Alstons (Barbados) Ltd; Ray Sumairsingh, Parent Board Director and Group Financial Services Sector Head; Christopher Sadler; Mark Conyers; John Sellier; Cedric Stone; Gregory Wright; Robert T. de Montbrun; Stephen Almandoz; Randolph de Silva Group Properties Manager and Margaret Gomes Executive Assistant to Group Chairman and Chief Executive. Prominent members from Trinidad’s business community were also invited included Bernard Dulal- Whiteway – CEO Neal and Massy Limited; Sam Martin – Chairman, TSTT; Ronald Harford– Chairman, Republic Bank Limited; Karen De Montbrun– President, TTMA; Lucia Phillip – Director, NALIS members from academia and members of the Diplomatic Corps.|
Maria Superville-Neilson, Group Public Relations Manager mistress of ceremonies warmly welcomed the invited guests, who contributed to the development of publication by way of providing information by interviews, personal archives and being a significant part of the group’s history. She also introduced the distinguished speakers for the august evening. Prof. Bridget Brereton – Acting Principal and Professor of History of the University of the West Indies, addressed the gathering and impressed the importance of preserving a company’s history. Drawing on the book’s Foreword which she wrote, Prof. Brereton made reference to the business history approach which has recently begun to be applied to the Caribbean and made an appeal to older companies stating;-
“On behalf of historical researchers at large, I want to appeal to all our older companies, banks, and credit unions and so on to preserve their older documents, build up their archives and consider donating them to or depositing them in, the Heritage or the University Libraries..”
Gerry Besson, Principal of Paria Publishing, also spoke of the comprehensive process of documentation and the various oral and telephone interviews conducted by former and existing employees, as well as the compilation of over 400 photographs from company and private archives as well as historical photos taken from the various ages throughout the company’s existence. Special mention was made of Randolph de Silva, who served on several company boards as director, auditor and company secretary who was a key contributor to the written history, being the longest serving member in the Group, to date.
Front Row, from left :Gerry Besson, Gerry C. Brooks, Prof. Bridget Brereton, A. Norman Sabga, Dr. Anthony Sabga, Mrs. Minerva Sabga (partially hidden) listen attentively to the evening’s proceedings.
(l) Prof. Bridget Brereton, (2nd left) Dr. Anthony Sabga and Randolph de Silva (2nd right) look on as Gerry Besson of Paria Publishing signs A. Norman Sabga’s copy
| A. Norman Sabga, Group Chairman and Chief Executive in his address remarked on the evolution of ANSA McAL thoughout the Industrial Revolution, the invention of the automobile, World Wars I & II and the country’s Independence –|
“It was during this time that the companies that evolved to become ANSA McAL began, grew and prospered. They withstood the challenges of a Trinidad and Tobago so far removed from our modern day Republic that we would not recognise it. …..Its the endurance that amazes me the most……..the remarkable passage of a group of companies that has endured and grown despite the ever-changing world around us.”
Gregory Thompson – Deputy Managing Director of Republic Bank, Lloyd Samaroo, Managing Director, First Caribbean International Bank look at one of the company’s letter books with A. Norman Sabga Group Chairman and Chief Executive.
(from left) Sam Martin- Chairman, TSTT, Bernard Dulal-Whiteway – CEO, Neal & Massy Limited and Ronald Harford – Chairman, Republic Bank Ltd chat with A. Norman Sabga.
“We are particularly grateful to those who have shared their recollections in interviews- Conrad O’Brien, Cedric Stone, David Mackenzie, John Pocock, John Sellier, Michael Mansoor, Ken Gordon, Margaret Gomes, Mark Conyers, Gregory Wright, Stephen Almandoz, Vivian Dayes, Joe Esau, Stephen Edghill, Geoffrey Gibson, Robert T. de Montbrun, Eileen Gibbon, Tommy Gatcliffe, Sheila de Boehmler, A. Norman Sabga and Dr. Anthony Sabga.”
Following Following the end of the official part of the proceedings, the guests were treated to sumptuous hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and strains of live harp music by Dennis Singh. Each guest also received complimentary autographed copies of the impressive publication.