Brian Ge­orge’s death leaves busi­ness sec­tor in shock

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Janet Silvera Se­nior Gleaner Writer

He had one of the bright­est minds I had ever met in my life­time. Not only in book sense, but in­tel­lec­tu­ally, and (he was) ar­tic­u­late in a way that wa s al­most fright­en­ing.

WESTERN BUREAU: BE­FORE HIS sud­den death yes­ter­day, Brian Ge­orge was lead­ing one of the most sig­nif­i­cant projects at the Na­tional Health Fund (NHF) – to de­liver pre­scrip­tion drugs through pri­vate phar­ma­cies sur­round­ing the coun­try’s public hos­pi­tals.

“Rather than have peo­ple wait­ing in lines for long hours at the public hospi­tal phar­ma­cies, he was lead­ing a charge to give them ac­cess to the pri­vate phar­ma­cies, making a dif­fer­ence in their lives,” NHF Chair­man Chris Zacca told The Gleaner yes­ter­day morn­ing, hours af­ter Ge­orge, his vice-chair, died at An­drews Memo­rial Hospi­tal in St An­drew.

Ge­orge, pres­i­dent and CEO of Supreme Ven­tures Lim­ited (SVL), was ex­pected to meet with other mem­bers of the NHF at their monthly meet­ing this morn­ing.

“It will be a very dif­fi­cult and emo­tional meet­ing for all of us,” said a shocked Zacca, de­scrib­ing Ge­orge as a gen­tle­man who had con­trib­uted sig­nif­i­cantly to his adopted coun­try.

Born in the twin-is­land repub­lic of Trinidad and Tobago, Ge­orge, who be­came pres­i­dent of SVL in 2003, had the abil­ity to find so­lu­tions to com­plex prob­lems, even while rallying those around him.

“His death has left a deficit in terms of lead­er­ship in the pri­vate sec­tor,” added Zacca.

Ge­orge’s death sent shock waves through­out the busi­ness com­mu­nity, leav­ing mem­bers of the SVL fam­ily mourn­ing and also speech­less. A me­dia re­lease from the or­gan­i­sa­tion said Ge­orge had been bat­tling ill­ness for some time, but con­tin­ued daily to dis­charge all of his du­ties to SVL.

“We are just try­ing to come to terms with this sig­nif­i­cant loss. We will miss him be­yond words,” said SVL Chair­man Paul Hoo.

Olivia Grange, min­is­ter of cul­ture, gen­der af­fairs, en­ter­tain­ment and sport, said: “Brian was a proud Trinida­dian and also a great friend of Ja­maica. He of­fered such out­stand­ing sup­port to Ja­maican sports, cul­ture, and other crit­i­cal ar­eas of na­tional de­vel­op­ment, over the years – not only through the lot­tery com­pany which he so ably led.”

RE­GION POORER

As tributes poured in for the as­tute, cre­ative thinker, who was known to be sharp-minded, hum­ble and de­cent, his friend of more than 12 years, at­tor­ney-at­law Wal­ter Scott, said Ja­maica and the Caribbean would be poorer for his un­timely pass­ing.

“He had one of the bright­est minds I had ever met in my life­time. Not only in book sense, but in­tel­lec­tu­ally, and (he was) ar­tic­u­late in a way that was al­most fright­en­ing,” said Scott.

Proud of his as­so­ci­a­tion with Ge­orge, Scott had rich ad­mi­ra­tion in his voice when he spoke of the depth of knowl­edge of the late SVL pres­i­dent. Laud­ing Ge­orge’s stew­ard­ship, Scott said it was un­der his lead­er­ship that the SVL grew to be the gi­ant it is to­day.

“His will be a very hard act to fol­low, as he was one of those CEOs who was both shrewd and vi­sion­ary, but at the same time the most com­pas­sion­ate and gen­er­ous.”

A re­ally good man was how Scott con­cluded his de­scrip­tion of Ge­orge, for

whom he served as best man at his wed­ding in 2010.

His com­ments were bol­stered by Mon­tego Bay busi­ness­man, Ian Dear, chair­man and CEO of Mar­gar­i­taville Caribbean.

Still in a state of shock when con­tacted by The Gleaner, Dear spoke glow­ingly of a fair and bal­anced man in his busi­ness deal­ings.

“I feel priv­i­leged to have known him,” he said.

Ge­orge, the fa­ther of two sons, Christopher and Matthew, fell in love with Ja­maica af­ter mov­ing here years ago to work. He also fell in love with Ja­maican fash­ion de­signer Ke­neea Lin­ton, whom he later mar­ried in a fairy-tale wed­ding in Venice, Italy.

FILE

Brian Ge­orge, late CEO of Supreme Ven­tures.

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