Glen Christian and Henry Lowe – two reasons we must never give up on our country

November 4, 2014 3:14 pm


LAST Wednesday, two brilliant Jamaican men, standing on platforms just about a mile away from each other, reminded us why we must never give up on our country. Glen Christian, who did not own a pair of shoes until he was 13 years old, was inducted into the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica Hall of Fame at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel. And, Dr Henry Lowe, whose mother related to us the early struggles of her family, launched seven new pharmaceutical products derived from Jamaican ganja at his own exquisite Eden Gardens property on Lady Musgrave Road.

Glen Christian, owner of Cari-Med and Kirk Industries, was described as a man “with a heart for people and a mind for business”. He explained that he learned the principles of supply and demand from his resourceful mother who would buy produce at farm gates in his native Clarendon, sell them in the market, and use the funds to purchase supplies for the small shops in their district of Brandon Hill. He lost his father at two years old, but his mother later remarried — to Edward Mitchell — who was a splendid stepdad. Photographs of Mr and Mrs Mitchell adorn the Evelyn Mitchell Infant School built by Glen and his dedicated wife Marva at Brandon Hill to honour their memory.

This is no ordinary infant school. It is actually an amalgamation of four smaller infant schools, and Cari-Med employee Mrs Cherry Emmanuel (mother of the gifted Judy Emmanuel) has urged me to see it for myself. The school is a Ministry of Education Centre of Excellence, where best practices are in use to ensure that the young pupils have a great start in life. The Christians — both in name and nature — have also provided a school bus for the children.

Glen Christian was first employed as a postman when he came to Kingston. The ambitious young man attended evening classes to qualify for Mico Teachers’ College, now Mico University College. After graduating, he worked briefly as a government employee and then joined the Pharmaceutical Department of H D Hopwood, where he moved their market share from 15 to 85 per cent.

At the event, the Christians’ close friend, former Prime Minister Bruce Golding, related Glen’s start 30 years before, “that glorious history of what we have come to know as Cari-Med”. He said Glen had no large amount of capital, but “he knew the chemistry, the background, the pharmacists, the doctors better than anyone else”. Most importantly, he said, was Glen’s respect for “the human element”, which was affirmed by interviews with several managers who had moved up the ladder at Cari-Med.

What a glorious moment it was for Glen Christian when he became the proud owner of the property and assets at 216 Marcus Garvey Drive — this was the address of the very same Colgate Palmolive where, as a postman, years before, he delivered numerous letters. Now you understand why he is so passionate about education and plans to build another state-of-the-art infant school in Kingston’s inner-city. Congratulations!

Read full article via The Jamaica Oberserver