SPEECH BY THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL HIS EXCELLENCY THE MOST HON. SIR PATRICK ALLEN ON, GCMG, CD, KSt.J FOSRICH 25TH ANNIVERSARY DINNER & AWARDS SUNDAY, MAY 19, 2019

Lady Allen and I are pleased to share with Mr. & Mrs. Foster, members of the Foster family, members of the FosRich Family, and this select gathering as we join in celebrating twenty-five years of growth and success.

You have called upon me to speak immediately after not only a sumptuous meal but also after two most distinguished performing artists. Such a situation is typically described as being a ‘hard act to follow’. Additionally, I face the real peril of either ethnic fatigue or entertainment overload or both! Nevertheless, because I claim the right of a long and happy relationship with our hosts, I will rise to the occasion to address this commemorative event.

The downturn in the economy in the 1990’s spurred the Foster has to create their own opportunities, and in 1993, the FosRich Company began operations in the Foster’s apartment.
• I witnessed the opening of the flagship store on Molynes Road in 2009.
• I shared in their hopes when two stores were opened in Montego Bay in 2012.
• In 2014, the Company opened the FosRich Lifestyle Store in Mandeville.
• In 2017 the FosRich IPO was oversubscribed by J$100 million and the Company took its place on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.
• Last year, 2018, the Company honoured its promise to “Go big and bold” when it collaborated with large international companies for renewable lighting products which were showcased at the electrical and lighting Expo. The Company also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with two major institutions for the supply of material for energy projects.
• Now in 2019 they are manufacturing PVC pipes, which are used for electrical conduits and drains.

There is no stopping FosRich, they are on the go — “Looking Ahead and Going Beyond.”
The FosRich Story is exciting and it is inspirational! From a small beginning, the Company has grown to become one of the Island’s largest distributors of electrical products, energy, and lighting solutions.
Ladies and Gentlemen, labor experts will tell you that 35% of companies do not make it past 10 years in business. But here we are. FosRich has defied the odds, and has become a success story which is still being written!

Stories of high achievers who began their journey in very difficult circumstances found that such journeys were successful when certain conditions exist or they are created. Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, reminded his readers that, and I quote: “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement and success have no meaning”-unquote.
Growth and Progress: Movement. Action. Measurable Change. Development. All of these elements indicate the presence of life and as long as there is life, there is hope for success. In addition, the philosopher prefaced them with another critical descriptor, ‘Continual.’

We live in an age when we can carry out our personal and domestic chores with an ease and convenience that was not available to our ancestors. Yet, in this era of technological advancement and instant communication, we dare not underestimate the importance of individual responsibility, individual will, cooperation, and trust.

To grow bold and to make progress, and to achieve the goals we set, require a high level of individual will and effort, and an appreciation and fixity of purpose to be followed. It also requires an appreciation of the human, social and technical environment in which one has to function.
All that I have said in the last couple of minutes has mirrored the twenty-five-year history of Mr. & Mrs Foster, joined at different points by their family members, business partners, and staff.

• They had a goal.
• They had the necessary qualifications.
• They applied their knowledge.
• They related well with people.
• They were not deterred by hard work or even disappointments.
• They were not interested in standing still or resting on a particular plateau.
• They focused on growth.
• They were action-oriented, and,
• Here they are today! Here we are, better for having known them, better for having been assisted by them, better for having shared their approach and vision for our country.

Mr. & Mrs Foster we salute you! We thank you! We are proud of you, and all those who have stood with you in this exciting journey.
However, there is more to our gathering here this evening than reflecting on achievement and success. We are in the company of members of an enterprise, which has set an excellent example of corporate responsibility, corporate sensitivity, and profound appreciation of national need.
In relation to national need, I not only refer to the Company’s expansion beyond the Corporate Area, but of the message, which it sends to those who are already hearing them, and to those they will continue to engage.

I feel compelled to point out that the Foster’s letter of invitation contained a brief history of the growth of the FosRich Group of Companies, but made no was made of the Company’s Corporate Social responsibility, which is something they don’t want to chronicle or trumpet about too much.
For some years now, FosRich has been an active supporter of programmes at King’s House. We thank you and we look forward to a strengthening of your engagement with our young people, particularly those who are striving to be qualified for innovation and entrepreneurship.

The letter also did not mention the philanthropic initiatives most notably the Good Samaritan Inn, of which Mr Foster is one of the founders, and a major benefactor.

Those of us, who have trod the rocky roads towards growth and progress, need to ensure that the present and future generations never lose their grip on reality even when they are about to seize on the prize. Every now and then, we see the athlete who looks across or fails to look across, and relaxes inches from the finish line, allowing his competitors to pass him at the post. One can carelessly snatch defeat from the “grasp” of victory.

Patriotic, hardworking, successful Jamaicans who have gathered in celebration tonight, let us resolve, individually and collectively, to preserve the gains in our country to which the Foster team has so successfully and generously contributed. Let us be prepared to identify every manageable opportunity to mentor, inspire, and lead in ways, which contribute to the sustaining of Growth and Progress.
In a gathering such as this, which is filled with people who love God; let us never lose sight of the spiritual forces in our lives, which undergird the values and principles necessary for the ‘righteousness which exalts a nation.’

• At twenty-five years, youthful energy is in FosRichs’ favour.
• At twenty-five years, FosRich can look forward to many challenges and opportunities ahead.
• At twenty-five years, FosRich is well positioned to build on the successes of the past.
I trust you will use this occasion to celebrate, to reflect, and to recommit.

There will be countless challenges over the coming years, but if you approach these obstacles and opportunities with respect, hard work and faith in God, I believe, the FosRich Company will continue to enjoy pre-eminence in the market place. I encourage management and staff to build on the powerful foundation you have established, and — Go Beyond! God bless you and congratulations.