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Untold Stories of National Awardees | Ammar Jr dreams for fair, honest business practices

Published:Wednesday | August 22, 2018 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
Ammar Jr

The revelation that mercantile trade extraordinaire Michael Anthony Ammar Jr is to be conferred with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander came as a great surprise to both himself and his family.

The 60-year-old, while elated, has expressed humility and gratitude for the recognition.

"It was my friend who sent me a WhatsApp [message] and said congrats. I asked him. 'What you mean?' and he sent me an image of an [excerpt] from a Gleaner page. It was totally unexpected," Ammar recalled. "My family were all surprised as well."

Ammar is being recognised for his contribution to trade through the well-known family business, Ammar's, which has stood for 56 years.

His success in the business, he admitted, was not of his own doing.

And even though he is the one who will be spotlighted come Heroes Day, he singled out his father, Anthony Ammar Sr, as a trusting compass as he marches on in service to his country.

"I have to give it up to my father. He has been the one there keeping things together, fighting for what we have," he said.

Ammar said that throughout his years, he has had to stand firm for the survival of the business.

This struggle includes lobbying at the powerful Jamaica Chamber of Commerce for 12 years, including as president, to root out some of the policies that were stifling the growth of the economy.

He also had to face the explosion of illegitimate businesses on the scene competing with his own trade, at an unfair advantage.

"You have people set up [businesses] and they pay no tax, no duties and they come into the industry. We have to pay GCT (general consumption tax) and all there is, so they are threatening us. We're really struggling," he passionately stated, pointing out that several legitimate businesses have had to shut their doors because of illegitimate competitors.




But the businessman also believes that an economy that does not cater to the needs of all is not desirable.

"If we enrich ourselves, that will only last a very short time, so I have pushed for the rise of the whole economy and all areas of it," Ammar Jr said.

He said outside of the approximately four years at the University of Oklahoma overseas, he has never spent extended time outside of the country, hence much of his work has been in service to Jamaica.

Unsurprisingly, Ammar's vision for Jamaica is "for the rule of law to be paramount and that everyone respects each other and for everyone to do business fairly and honestly under the law."

He noted that when the city of New York was facing a similar crisis as Jamaica, with murders and violence getting out of hand, the authorities went after the unruly mass and was able to arrest the situation by employing various strategies.