Business

Phillip Gore, Tony Hart, awarded Order of Jamaica in new national honours list

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

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Prominent local business personalities — Phillip Gore and Tony Hart — were among a number of leading Jamaican investors who were honoured in the National Honours and Awards list released by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen on Sunday, August 6, 2017.

They both were awarded the Order of Jamaica (OJ), which is conferred upon “any Jamaican citizen of outstanding distinction or upon any distinguished citizen of a country other than Jamaica (honorary member)”.

Phillip Frederick Gore, OD, was honoured for “outstanding contribution to housing development, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy”.

Antony Keith Edmund Hart, CD, was honoured for “outstanding service in business, community development, and humanitarianism”.

They have both become members of the Order, and are styled “Honourable”. The motto of the Order is “For a covenant of the People”.

Gore is the founder and executive chairman of Gore Developments Ltd (GDL), one of the most prolific and successful developers of affordable housing in Jamaica. In tandem with the National Housing Trust and various Jamaican building societies, GDL has helped Jamaicans from all walks of life to achieve their dream of owning a home.

A leading light in Jamaica's business community, he is also an philanthropist and keen supporter of many and varied worthy causes, especially in the areas of health care, the arts and education.

Gore, regarded as one of the 10 most influential business leaders in Jamaica, has acted as president of the Jamaica Developers Association and the Incorporated Masterbuilders Association of Jamaica. A former chairman of JAMPRO (Jamaica Promotions), he currently serves as a director for the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the King's House Foundation, and the Jamaica Observer.

He is the recipient of the American Friends of Jamaica's International Humanitarian Award, the Jamaica Observer's Lifetime Achievement Award (for his work in the building and construction industry), and the Government of Jamaica's prestigious Order of Distinction in recognition of his outstanding service to the country as a whole.

He and his wife founded the Phillip & Christine Gore Family Foundation to assist Jamaica's schoolchildren in preparing for grade 1—the first crucial step towards a good education and a successful life. Currently, the foundation is at work in 11 basic schools in Kingston, where more than 700 students are beginning their education and young lives:

Antony Keith Edmund (“Tony”) Hart, Commander of the Order of Distinction, is known to his legions of admirers and beneficiaries as simply, Tony Hart, the man and the legend.

Born on October 8, 1932 in Montego Bay, he attended Munro College between 1941 and 1948, worked briefly at the Casa Blanca Hotel, and eventually enrolled at Queen's University in Kingston, Toronto.

He returned to Montego Bay after a fire destroyed his father's store, Samuel Hart and Son, in 1950.

Aged 18, he joined his father in rebuilding the business, which became the first store in the town to receive electricity when it reopened in 1950.

In 1951, Hart started a record manufacturing company, Records Ltd, in Kingston. The same year, he left Samuel Hart and Son and established Jamaica Electronics, in Kingston as well, but returned to Montego Bay in early 1953.

Soon after, he acquired a subagency for the dealership of Ford, the giant American auto firm. Hart called it the Northern Industrial Garage (NIG). NIG sold 300 cars in three months, at a time when cars were relatively few on Jamaican roads.

At the age of 85, Hart is recalled as the founder of the Hart Group of Companies, is still active in the running of the enterprise's associated businesses, and continues to lead a very productive life.

A business giant in Montego Bay, he is famous for starting the Montego Freeport industrial hub in 1967 and has founded more than 50 companies.

“I started working for my father at age 19. The first company I opened was Records Ltd in Kingston, which was the first record manufacturing company in Jamaica,” said Hart.

“Then I started the Northern Industrial Garage, which was the main car dealership in western Jamaica; and then I started the Montego Freeport, which was the harbour we built. I served on various boards, including the Coconut Industry Board, and I was also on Air Jamaica's board for eight years — and I made profits for seven of the eight years as its chairman,” Hart has stated.

Despite claiming to be retired, he continues to work closely with the local community in several ways and also assists his relatives in maintaining the family business empire.

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