Wed | Nov 20, 2019

PM, private sector salute late nation builder Chang

Published:Monday | July 28, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Correction & Clarification

In the Page 1 story carried yesterday in which the prime minister and the private sector paid tribute to the late Raymond Chang, we incorrectly stated that his mother was born in Guyana. His mother is, in fact a Jamaican, born in St Thomas. We regret the error.


Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has described Raymond Chang as an inspired business leader with a heart, who gave distinguished and diligent service to the land of his birth and his adopted homeland.

Chang died in Canada yesterday, and Simpson Miller, who is in Trinidad and Tobago, where she is participating in the first Japan-CARICOM Summit, said his death has robbed Jamaica and Canada of one of their most accomplished sons in the areas of finance and philanthropy.

"The nation mourns the passing of this accomplished and outstanding son of the soil," the prime minister said.

"He has left a void of immense proportion in the field of fund management, having headed Canada's second-largest investment fund-management company, CI Financial Corp, while also investing meaningfully in businesses in Jamaica and extending his generosity to supporting areas of social and community development," the prime minister said.

Brian Pengelley, president of the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association, said he did not know Chang personally, but his contribution to Jamaica through his charity and the realm of business and education is well known.

"It's sad to lose such a statesman, who has clearly contributed so significantly to Jamaica's development and, certainly, our sympathies are with his family," Pengelley told The Gleaner.

Chang was born in Kingston, the fifth of 12 children. His father was a second-generation Jamaican-Chinese, while his mother was born in Jamaica to Chinese immigrants.

Known for his considerable contributions to various local charities, the financial guru was conferred with the Order of Jamaica on October 17, 2011, and was last month appointed an officer of the Order of Canada.

At the time when he was appointed to Order of Jamaica, Chang told The Gleaner that his mantra had been, "It's not only a matter of giving assets. It's just as important to give your time."


He has been known to admonish the local private sector for its lack of involvement in social programmes and at one point made it clear that the "Government does not make any extra money to spare, so it's the obligation of private-sector organisations to contribute as much as they can to the community."

Christopher Zacca, president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, said Chang had led an exemplar life and his contribution to Jamaica cannot be denied.

"He was not only a very successful businessman, and even though he lived in Canada, he led numerous charitable efforts here in Jamaica," Zacca said, adding that Chang was a friend of his and they had collaborated on a number of projects before.

Chang has donated millions of dollars to various organisations in Canada and Jamaica.

A respected stalwart in the Canadian financial market, Chang worked first as an engineer, then as an accountant, and was instrumental in the transformation of CI Fund Management into Canada's third-largest mutual fund and investment company.

His life also extended to the halls of academia. In 2006, he was appointed chancellor of Ryerson University and helped establish the G. Raymond Chang School of Continued Education at the school's downtown Toronto campus.

Chang was also patron of the University of the West Indies Toronto gala and served as the president of the Jamaica Homecoming Canada initiative.

He also served as a director of the GraceKennedy Group.