Service. For both of this year’s inductees into the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce’s Business Hall of Fame— the late Pennywise patriarch Lall Paladee and Southern Medical Clinic’s Executive Chairman Dr Rubert Indar, Sr — service has been their ethos and the hallmark of their success.
Paladee’s son, Dalvi accepted his father’s award Saturday night at the Chamber’s annual Champions of Business Ceremony, held at the National Academy for the Performing Arts in Port of Spain.
Paladee’s story is a legendary “rags to riches” in local business. He started off selling his wares door to door on a bicycle, he won in a raffle, eventually moving to a stall at the Chaguanas Market when another vendor decided to vacate and allowed him to have his spot. Today, his legacy is one of the biggest cosmetics and pharmaceutical retailers in the Caribbean.
“He would share whatever he had with people. That was his vision in order to fix the country - and by serving the less fortunate— and we will use Pennywise to continue that vision,” the younger Paladee said.
He added that as business leaders, he and his colleagues present should understand how important Trinidad and Tobago was to their success, and no matter the negatives, they should all use their resources to touch the lives of people everyday with love.
Dr Indar also had a message of service. “Service has been my life and I have given it,” he said, thanking the staff at Southern Medical for sharing in and supporting his vision.
Dr Indar, a General Surgeon, started Southern Medical in 1969 with his colleague, Dr Percival Harnarayna, an obstetrician and gynaecologist. Their mission was to bring top-class healthcare to TT, comparable to any first-world system. The institution was the first in the country to install and use Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines and computed tomography (CT) scanners.
He quoted Indian Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore:
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
“I’m hoping that the people who give service in Trinidad might eventually know something of this and eventually give service to the people in the country,” Dr Indar said.
Among the night’s big winners were Cheryl-Ann Baptiste and Nigel Jordan for best Start-Up Entrepreneur (for businesses less than five years old), founders of herbal tea and spice company Twigs Naturals Ltd.Jordan said the idea for his company came when he and his son were experienting with at-home crafts using herbs from his backyard kitchen garden to make teabags. “I just wanted people to enjoy a good cup of tea,” he said.
Chief executive of local entertainment juggernaut Caesar’s Army, Jules Sobion, took home the prize for best Emerging Entrepreneur (businesses between five and ten years old). “I think it’s apt to say we came, we saw and we conquered,” Sobion said, referencing the famous words the legendary Roman General, Julius Caesar.