Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Thwaites urges GraceKennedy to include religious principles in business

Published:Tuesday | February 14, 2017 | 2:00 AMJason Cross
Don Wehby (right), Group CEO of GraceKennedy, chats with former CEO Rafael Diaz at the GraceKennedy’s 95th Anniversary Mass at the Holy Trinity Cathedral on Sunday.

As Jamaica's first multinational corporation and first to establish free health and insurance schemes for staff, GraceKennedy was strongly urged by the Reverend Ronald Thwaites to never to forget to apply the principles of religion in their daily business activities.

He made his suggestion during GraceKennedy's 95th Anniversary Celebration Mass on Sunday, at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kingston,

"Grace ought to be not just a name, but a characteristic of the company. The scripture reading has called the company to a higher life, a life that's consistent with their ethics, which is an example of how we are to live. Religion is not just an individual thing. Religion applies to business and its standards. Play that out in your own life, at church, at GraceKennedy, and in the whole nation," Thwaites told The Gleaner.

Thwaites delivered the homily, during which he gave stories and examples of his interaction with the company. He contrasted those experiences with patterns of irresponsibility and a sense of entitlement, where persons say to themselves that they must get ahead regardless of the cost to society.

Group Chief Executive Officer of the GraceKennedy Limited Don Wehby, during his message, highlighted, through his own experiences, the importance of including God in everything that Jamaicans do.

"Not too long ago as a youngster in khakis, I visited this church. In those days, it was mandatory. Those hours of prayer shaped my early spiritual identity and prepared me for a path, which I could never have imagined would have led me to standing here before you as CEO of GraceKennedy.

"I have also seen, both in my personal and business life, that it is God who makes all things possible, and he can take people, institutions, and countries further than they or others could ever imagine," Wehby said.

SALUTE TO FOUNDERS

He saluted the company's founders, Dr John Grace, Fred Kennedy, and James Moss Solomon Snr.

Also saluted were past CEOs Carlton Alexander, Rafael Diaz, and Douglas Orane.

"We celebrate and give thanks for our journey that we have gone on and pray for us in terms of the journey forward," he said to the congregation.

"As a company, we take corporate responsibility very seriously. We assist 500 children to go to school. We have produced a number of lawyers and accountants, and it is my personal goal to carry the 500 to 1,000 going forward," Wehby told The Gleaner.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com