Jamaicans honour Lasco founder Lascelles Chin

May 29, 2023

Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Opposition Leader Mark Golding led the myriad of glowing tributes for Lascelles Chin, the founder of the LASCO Affiliated Companies who on died on Saturday night.

Managing Director of Lasco Manufacturing James Rawle said Chin, 86, died in the US, where he was receiving medical treatment. The illness was not disclosed. Chin was the executive chairman of Lasco Manufacturing, Lasco Financial and Services, and Lasco Distributors. The three entities make up the LASCO Affiliated Companies, which was established in 1988. Many of Lasco's food products are household names in Jamaica because of their affordable prices. Holness said he was "deeply saddened" by the passing of the business giant and philanthropist.

"His entrepreneurial prowess transformed Lasco into a household name, while his philanthropy uplifted countless lives. A visionary leader and advocate for change, his legacy will forever inspire us," he said in a Twitter post on Sunday. Golding lauded Chin as a true Jamaican visionary and entrepreneur.

"His impact on Ja's (Jamaica's) business landscape is immeasurable. Lasco products are a household name, a testament to his commitment to quality & affordability. Condolences to his family & friends," he said in a tweet.

Other tributes came from persons such as Mickel Jackson, executive director of Jamaicans for Justice, who said that she has been in the non-profit sector since her early 20s and "could always count on the philanthropy of the Lasco Group". Senator Matthew Samuda, who is the minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, called Chin a "titan of industry, an innovator, and a philanthropist". Fellow Senator Peter Bunting, the opposition spokesman on national security, hailed Chin as an "inspiration to local entrepreneurs with his formation of Lasco and a pioneer of corporate social responsibility". Desmond McKenzie, the country's labour minister, said he would miss Chin, who "was a constant and reassuring tower of strength and support to me through my evolution as a servant of local government as councillor, mayor, and minister.

Chin was born in Bog Walk, St Catherine, but grew up in Kendal, Manchester, and Balaclava in St Elizabeth. He graduated from Wolmer's Boys' School in the 1950s, and the Wolmer's Trust remembered him as a "titan of Jamaica's private sector, a business icon, a generous philanthropistand a quiet humanitarian".

In a media release, the trust said that Chin contributed his genius to a wide variety of industries. It said that his keen eye for opportunity, energetic leadership, willingness to undertake risk and the ease with which he built partnerships fuelled his inevitable success.

"He hurdled each failure, learning what it had to teach and employing that learning in the very next effort," the release said. Chin was credited for his "unselfishness and generosity of spirit" that allowed him to encourage and enable others to meet their success.

"Las is without question a son of whom Jamaica and Wolmer's is justly proud. He was a living representation of our Wolmer's motto, Age Quod Agis, 'Whatever you do, do well'," the release said.

Chin was conferred with the Order of Jamaica in 2001 for his philanthropy and his contribution to the development of commerce and business.

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