Benevolent. This word describes some of the best virtues expected of humanity. It means “wishing to do good, actively friendly and helpful; charitable.”
At the same time, in a world of distorted perceptions, people who have some or all of these qualities deserve to defend their good character when necessary. Remember, “Good name in man and woman is the immediate jewel of their souls...Who steals my purse steals trash,” etc (Shakespeare" Othello).
So it was with Michael Nino Aboud, 60, when his company found it necessary to declare in three dailies: “Contrary to recent reports within the public domain, Dr Michel Nino Aboud (Hon) owner and executive chairman of Amalgamated Security Services is not Mr Michael Patrick Aboud.”
The company added: “The company publicly place on record that this individual is in no way connected to our executive chairman and as such members of the public should be aware that Dr Aboud (Hon) does not have any family or business relationship with Mr Michael Patrick Aboud.”
Michael Patrick Aboud, 38, is now on $475,000 bail, having been the subject of police charges two weeks ago regarding alleged possession of ammunition and drugs. Of course, having pleaded not guilty, he will have his day in court.
However, as the name “Michael Aboud” swung into high gear across social media, the name confusion naturally emerged. Stereotyped suspicions persist.
Given his business reputation, social status and direct responsibility for over 5,000 employees, Dr Michael Nino Aboud's (Hon) company felt compelled to clear the air.
After all, in this free-speech society, good reputations can be – in fact, have been – fatally damaged by gossip and rumour. And this in a culture where the worst about someone is so quickly believed. It is therefore important that innocent people quickly clear their good names, even if they have to spend money to do it.
I have known Dr Aboud (Hon) for many years. His benevolence has always impressed me and the many others who know him, both in private and public domains. Ask the Police Service, the prison system, Crime Stoppers about his integrity and generosity.
Who knows otherwise about Dr Michael Aboud (Hon) could say so. I write to help a good man preserve his good reputation as I have previously done in this column for quite a few others, in and out of business, whether PNM or UNC. Some things should be above politics.
Yes, he is a successful businessman locally and regionally in a very competitive industry. And yet he has maintained a modesty that does not usually go with such success. Ask his over 5,000 employees in the various divisions of his multi-sectoral enterprise.
Expressing hurt at some who criticise his business, he recently said: “The criticisms must also take into account all the hard work, the sweat and sacrifice made.”
This is a man who started business with Curtis Cummings and a one-dog guard company in 1983. Cummings is still there as the company’s chief operations officer. At a Christmas celebration for some hundred employees, his recognition of them was extremely generous – cash, wristwatch, Alexia, etc.
He has a special section for continued assistance for company retirees. Some have been with him 15 years and over. Loyalty there is infectious, valued and rewarded. The company’s CEO, Pamela Hosein, highly qualified and internationally connected, like so many others in the company, has been there since 1987.
She said: “His company gives a percentage of profit to corporate social responsibility programmes, to employees who suffer from floods, fires and life-threatening conditions, grants to employees’ children. He has mentored many young entrepreneurs, etc.”
Like the accomplishments of Ansa McAl's and Pennywise's “starting from scratch” founders, the business and philanthropic story of Michael Aboud should be a lesson in a society where hard-headed entrepreneurship is just as good as textbook theories. His presence in and contributions to many international security bodies have earned him great respect as well as several high-prestige international awards.
Last year, the University of Trinidad and Tobago awarded him an honorary doctorate for business and entrepreneurship. Part of the rationale: “His professional and personal integrity are well known and highly regarded by his peers and the wider business community.” His benevolence is well established. His modesty is exemplified when he insists on keeping the word “Hon” after the "Dr.”