Ron Sasso's courage

Published: Monday | December 9, 2013 Comments 0

We note the recent passing of banker Ron Sasso, which, a generation ago, would have been a profound moment, including in the political sphere.

Mr Sasso was 86 and in full retirement for a decade and a half, except for splendid efforts in woodwork, examples of which reside in the homes of many of his friends.

Ron Sasso's last banking job was CEO of the now-defunct Island Victoria Bank. Before that, he headed, from its inception, the venture-capital institution, Trafalgar Development, which has folded into what is now First Global Bank.

But Mr Sasso's real mark was at Royal Bank of Canada (Jamaica), were he worked for 40 years, the last 10, of which he was chairman and managing director.

His activities transcended commercial banking to being a global voice against what he believed to be a wrong and dangerous social path being pursued by Michael Manley's People's National Party.

As president of the Jamaica Bankers Association, he was the go-to man for visiting journalists looking for an assessment of the Jamaican economy. He was mostly critical.

Given the ideological cleavages of the time, Mr Sasso was, obviously, controversial. But even from this distance, there is little doubt that his views were honestly held, from the standpoint of economics, and largely right. And he was courageous enough to express them.

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