Famed Ocho Rios civic leader Joe Issa, has congratulated Usain Bolt on copping the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Male Athlete of The Year award, yet again.
IAAF, the 215-member world governing body for athletics headquartered in Monaco in the French Riviera, dubbed “land of the rich and famous”, awarded Bolt for the sixth time with the most envied award in world athletics.
“I lost count,” Issa said jokingly, of the number of times Bolt has won the award.
“What he has achieved is astonishing, and if he runs next year at the World Championships, he could become world male athlete of the year for the seventh time,” says Issa, who is believed to be no stranger to achieving firsts in his academic and professional career.
In 1988 at the young age of 23, Issa famously became the first accountancy and economics major to pass all four parts of the Certified Public Accountancy (CPA) examination in one sitting. He also became the youngest accountant in Jamaica, graduating Cum Laude and valedictorian from the prestigious College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts in the United States. He also copped the Massachusetts Society of CPA’s Inc. most outstanding junior student award and received the key to city of Lauderhill by the mayor.
Six years into his career in the tourism industry, Issa copped the Young Hotelier of the World 1994 award. Like Bolt, he was 29 years old when he beat all nominees from around the world. He has also won numerous other awards locally and internationally, including Travel Agents Magazine’s 100 Rising Stars award and he did so 4 years in a row – 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000.
Issa, who has a tradition of encouraging excellence in all sectors and commending young Jamaicans on their achievements had, in a blog tipped Bolt to deliver the now-famous “Triple-Triple” in Rio this year.
He said then, ahead of the Olympics: “If he succeeds, he will have achieved the most unlikely feat in the history of sports, surpassing Leicester City’s recent Premier League win.”
Issa also commended Leicester City’s captain, Jamaican Wes Morgan, who had steered the team to the famous victory which, at the time was dubbed by the international media as “the most unlikely feat in the history of sports”.
Noting that he is happy for Bolt for copping the award yet again and that he expects him to continue winning until he retires next year, Issa states in the interview, “It’s a long time since I stopped doubting Bolt, once it is within human endurance …If he says he will smash the 200m record next year, I expect him to do so, because he will work hard to achieve it.”
The awards gala was held in Monte Carlo, Monaco recently, where IAAF President Sebastian Coe presented the trophy to Bolt, making it the sixth time he has won the award – a record.
Bolt, for the third successive Olympic meet successfully defended his itles in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m in Rio this year, for the third time, bringing to nine, the number of Olympic gold medals he has won in his sporting career.
At the same time, Female World Athlete of the Year 2016, Ethiopian Almaz Ayana, is said to have had a record-breaking year. She run the fastest 10,000m debut in history and won an Olympic record at that distance.
Ayana received her trophy from International Athletics Foundation (IAF) Honorary President HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, who is a former guest of Issa’s family.
Research shows that Prince Albert’s father, Prince Rainier 111, famously married Hollywood idol Grace Kelly in 1956 and spent their romantic honeymoon on board a luxury yacht, which would later be owned by Issa’s family, who called her Zein after Issa’s sister and kept her for about 21 years between 1985 and 2006.
But Prince Albert, who was born at the same time that his parents sold the yacht and therefore, never had a chance to get to know the vessel, would later get a second chance when he visited Jamaica and was given a cruise along the north coast by the Issas.
Prince Albert 11 is said to have great affection for Jamaica and reportedly asked for diplomat relations to be establish with Monaco, with a view to enhancing bilateral relations between the two countries.
A city/state, Monaco is the second smallest independent country after the Vatican. It has a population of just over 30,000 people (2016) and an area of about two square miles or just under 500 acres. It is not a member of the European Union but is closely linked to it via a customs union with France.
Despite being a tiny European principality, Monaco is said to have more millionaires per capita than any other country in the world, thanks to its regime of zero personal income tax which is believed to have lured many wealthy Europeans seeking a tax haven.
Monaco is located on the French Riviera in Western Europe. It is bordered on three sides by France while the other side borders the Mediterranean Sea. It has a coastline 4.1 km (2.5 miles) long and a width that varies between 1,700 and 349 metres (1,859 and 382 yd). Its highest point is 161 metres (528 feet) above sea level.
Monaco is known as a playground for the rich and famous, due to its tax laws. In 2014, it was noted that about 30% of the population was made up of millionaires, similar to Zürich or Geneva, according to Wikipedia.
Businessman and philanthropist Joe Issa, who chairs the advisory board of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), congratulates the agency’s new chief executive officer (CEO), Andrew Wynter, and wishes him well in the top post.
Wynter was appointed last September to act in the position following the exit of Jennifer McDonald, whose contract at PICA had come to an end. During that period, Wynter retained oversight of his substantive post of Senior Director, Investigation and Surveillance Unit (ISU).
Issa, who is executive chairman of the hugely successful Cool Corp, said, “Mr. Wynter is very experienced at PICA and is well poised to make a big contribution to achieving our objectives…He has served PICA well in the past and I am sure he will do an excellent job as CEO.”
The Cool Group founder was responding in an interview, to the announcement of the appointment by National Security Minister, Robert Montague, during his contribution to the 2017/18 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on April 25.
In acknowledging the contribution made by the out-going CEO, Minister Montague described McDonald as a “fine public servant”. Issa too, noted “she has done a fine job at PICA…I wish her well going forward.”
In his new job, Wynter will be mandated to direct the agency’s major tasks of “accepting and processing passport applications, managing Jamaica’s immigration processes and handling matters in relation to application for and renunciation of Jamaican citizenship,” according to PICA’s website.
PICA processes applications for visitors, skilled workers, entrepreneurs, refugees and those reporting lost, stolen, damaged or found immigration documents. The executive agency also processes applications for citizenship.
Informing that PICA partners with other agencies in fulfilling its mandate, Issa adds that “Mr. Wynter will be working closely with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), in a necessary alliance with PICA in protecting Jamaica’s borders.” In this regard, Issa is said to have welcomed the recently-appointed Chief of Defence Staff, Brigadier Rocky Meade.
Stating he trusted Meade “to protect all citizens and the country from internal and external threats,” Issa said, “I believe he is qualified for the job after serving as deputy for five years. I am happy for him and look forward to working with him, as the JDF and PICA partner to secure Jamaica’s borders.”
In the thrust towards achieving PICA’s objectives, Issa said, “Mr. Wynter will be guided by several pieces of law governing the agency’s operations.” These include The Immigration Restriction (Commonwealth Citizen) Act, The Jamaica Nationality Act, The Alien’s Act, The Passport Act and Regulations, The Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment) Act, The Caribbean community (Free Movement) of Skilled Persons Act, The Executive Agencies Act 2002, and The Financial Administration and Audit Act.
Executive Chairman of Cool Group of over 50 companies Joe Issa, whose business model has been likened to that of his colleague, Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group of over 400 companies, has wished Jamaica well in the upcoming International Business Model Competition (IBMC), stating it could spawn Jamaica’s next generation of entrepreneurs.
Last year, Issa congratulated NCU for Finishing 6th in World Business Model Competition held in Washington DC, USA.
“Over time the competition among local institution to represent Jamaica at the international level could act as a catalyst to spawn the country’s next generation of entrepreneurs,” Issa says, adding, “Even those who do not succeed in representing Jamaica would have developed business models of a sufficiently high quality to find acceptance and application at home.”
“The participation of universities in the local competition to find the best business model to represent Jamaica at the international level provides optimal opportunity to identify potentially winning ventures, which can spur entrepreneurial imagination and creativity among students.
“In this regard I see the business model competition doing for the development of entrepreneurship in Jamaica, what CHAMPS has done for the rise of athletics, and similarly, what Spelling Bee has done in breeding a whole new generation of spellers,” says Issa, stating that “people tend to follow success.”
A cash prize of $4 million will be awarded to the winning university with the best business model, at the competition to be held at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston from March 23-24.
The winning entry will join others from around the world at the international competition to be held at the Computer History Museum in the heart of Silicon Valley in Mountain View, California, on May 11 and 12. A cash prize of US$30,000 and the prestigious trophy are up for grabs.
The local competition (NBMC), which is now in its fourth staging and is aimed at promoting the development of innovative enterprises in Jamaica, is organised by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) through its Jamaica Venture Capital Programme and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ).
The participating tertiary institutions are the Northern Caribbean University (NCU), University of the West Indies (UWI), Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts and the University of Technology (UTech).
No stranger to the competition, Issa Congratulated NCU last year for Finishing 6th in the World Business Model Competition held in Washington DC, USA. The NCU team entered the April 29 -30 competition with a DEET-free mosquito repellant called Guard, which they started producing in 2014, in response to the outbreak of the chikungunya virus carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
Issa said then, “Placing sixth among 200 institutions from around the world is no mean feat and the NCU team should be proud of themselves to present a first class business model.
“I also think the entry of the repellant was very appropriate, given the urgent, life threatening circumstances surrounding the start of production, says Issa, who is a multi-award winning businessman.
As a Mentor at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship – Caribbean based in Montego Bay, Issa has assisted, among others, a young Jamaican to transition from making a product as a hobby, to producing it as a full pledge business. The assistance also included access to Cool Group’s top technical and management staff.
2005 inductee into the prestigious Campion College Hall of Fame Joe Issa has congratulated fellow Campionites, well-known economist Dr. Damien King and businessman Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Matalon, who were both recently inducted.
Said to have produced many of the islands leaders in their field, Campion College, like the music and movie industries do for their very best, awards them the ultimate honour of a place in its Hall of Fame.
In an interview with Issa, who has also won the enviable Head Master’s Cup at Campion College and the national award, CD, for business and philanthropy, he congratulated the new inductees and said it is the dream of every Campionite to make it to the hall of fame.
“I’d like to congratulate Dr. King and Mr. Matalon; they’ve work hard in their respective field and therefore, deserve the recognition…it’s a great honour to be recognized that way… they must feel quite happy,” says Issa, who should know that feeling, having experienced it firsthand.
He adds: “It’s the dream of all Campionites to live to see their name in the hall of fame, even though we all know that only a very few will make it there, and I am happy and fortunate to be among that few, just as Dr. King and Mr. Matalon must be feeling now,” says Issa, the Cool Corp executive chairman who was more than a decade behind the class of the newest inductees.
Receiving the honour in 2005, along with Issa, was his cousin Chris Issa, also for Business; Kathryn Stewart, for Alumni Service; Peter Espeut, for Environment; Doctors Natalie Dickson and Howard Cooke for Science; and Wayne Burrowes for Sport.
Former DB&G business trio, Christopher Dehring, Peter Bunting and Mark Golding are still the only inductees under the Group Award – Business and Public Service – since 2009.
Since starting in 1998, when William Shagoury for Alumni Service and Cathi Levy for Arts were inducted, the Campion College Hall of Fame event has been held every other year, with some 31 former students honoured under eight categories, including seven for Business – the most in any category.
Any member of the alumni can be nominated by any past student of Campion College in any of the categories. The nominations are reviewed by a panel which includes members of the Association’s executive and senior representatives of the school, according to Campion’s website.
Founder of the Cool Group of Companies Joe Issa, who decried Jamaica’s high murder rate last year, breathes a sigh of relief at the sharp reduction in the numbers so far this year, and suggests that top rank policemen be more involved in fighting criminals, instead of being glued to a desk.
“I am pleased with the decline in murders so far this year and all praises due. The JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force) said they would be out in their numbers to contain the spate of murders island wide and they should be commended,” says Issa, adding that “more top rank officers should be out there guiding the rookies rather than sitting behind a desk…I think it will make a very big difference to the success of crime fighting in Jamaica.”
In December last year Issa lamented the high murder rate and called upon Jamaicans especially St. Ann residents to be on their guard with the Christmas shopping period approaching. The cautions came in at least two articles, suggesting that they shop online instead of taking to the busy Christmas streets where criminals lay waiting.
However, while congratulating the JCF for bringing the numbers down sharply in January this year compared with the same month last year, the Ocho Rios businessman, in the same breath berates the 100 per cent increase in St. Ann, where his Cool Corporation is headquartered making it one of just a few big businesses to locate in the garden parish.
“It’s like bitter-sweet for me: on the one hand, I am happy with the island wide reduction in murders in January this year; it’s a great improvement over January 2015. On the other hand, I am saddened by the doubling of the number of murders in my parish,” says Issa, who has been doing business in St. Ann for over 25 years and has contributed to schools and communities through his Cool Charities, a subsidiary of Cool Group.
According to the Jamaica Observer, murders dropped sharply in January this year compared with the same time in 2015. Based on the JCF report, there were 30 less murders or 29.1 per cent, coming from 103 in January 2015 to 73 in January this year.
However, St. Ann wasn’t so lucky with a 100 per cent increase in murders in January 2016 compared with 2015. Coming from three in January 2015, the number of murders rose to six in the first month this year.
The January murder figure for Jamaica was also down compared with December last year, a reduction of eight murders or 9.9 per cent, which Issa hopes constitutes a trend going forward whereby the numbers fall in each succeeding month.
“The parish of St James has the dubious position of recording the most murders of the 19 police divisions in the island so far in 2016,” the newspaper said, noting that “there were 11 murders in St James up to January 31, 2016. Clarendon is not far behind with 10 reported murders. The parishes of Portland and St Mary are the only ones not to record a murder in January 2016.”
Recently appointed Deputy Commissioner of Police, George Quallo, told the Observer that “one of the main contributing factors to the decline in murders was the strong on the ground presence of policemen and women especially members of the top rank of the organisation.”
Joe Issa may have been congratulated more times than can be counted, for churning out high grades and winning the Head Masters Cup at Campion College, and creating history at university.
And if you think that’s a lot, you haven’t heard anything yet; wait for what tourism industry professionals were saying and the array to awards he was receiving when he started working with his father.
Better still, you should hear what is being said of him as one of Jamaica’s foremost philanthropist. The praises continued to flow when he started giving back by founding his first charity in the UK, another when he returned home, and yet another soon after.
And still better, is what people are saying today about one of the country’s newest and most innovative entrepreneurs who, within 15 years, had grown his Cool brand from one, to a Group of over 50 individually branded companies, serving a variety of clients.
Receiving one award after another Issa leaves everyone in awe, including the very people whose lives he has touched, such as his Cool Biz clients.
It was for the specific purpose of creating thousands of indirect jobs that Issa founded Cool Biz, which supplies clients and affiliates from its well-stock warehouse with a wide range of grocery items and phone credit to sell.
Powel is one such person who came on board after he encountered difficulties paying all his bills. This is what he had to say about the innovative way Issa went about giving him and others an alternative source of income.
“I tried out Cool Biz and I have been selling credit to my schoolmates and family members ever since. I signed up some of my teachers and had them to buy the tissue and soap and juice for their kids. It’s really Cool,” he said.
Powel noted that he doesn’t have a huge business yet, but said “right now on a month-end I don’t have to run to mom and dad for money to buy my little girlie stuff. I have a brand new phone and I am saving a little. I encourage my friends to sign up because it’s really Cool.
Davis, who also joined Cool Biz said, “Work was slow in my neighbourhood and folks were looking for a way to earn extra. I signed up five new affiliates in four weeks and they are still selling in their own network of friends, neighbours and family.”
“They are happy. I’m happy. Other business I know could not have given us this opportunity. I’m building the business one person at a time…thanks to the boss Joe Issa,” he said.
Executive Chairman of Cool Group of companies, Joe Issa, congratulates Jamaican businesswoman Valrie Grant for copping the 2015 Commonwealth Women Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Grant beat three other finalists in the competition, which was organized by the Commonwealth Business-women’s Network (CBW), “an accredited body that focuses on women’s economic empowerment and is recognized by 53 countries across five continents,” a Jamaica Gleaner article said.
According to it, the announcement was made during the first Commonwealth Women’s Forum held in tandem with the Commonwealth Business Forum in Malta.
Issa, a multi-award winner, including ‘Young Hotelier of the World’ and several other international and local business awards by the island’s chambers of commerce and the Jamaica Observer says, “I am very impressed with the young lady’s innovation, tenacity, and just plain good-nature.”
Grant’s success, passion and international flair also resonate with Issa, who has developed and nurtured a Cool brand of over 50 companies that are being leveraged internationally, with the view to transforming them into a global corporation.
In announcing the winner, CBW executive director Arif Zaman is quoted as saying, “Grant impressed the judging panel for several reasons, including the fact that she owns and operates her business successfully internationally in a male-dominated field,” and “supports other female entrepreneurs, helping them to see how they, too, can strive to be better,” noting that “she is always striving to innovate, and she is truly passionate about what she does.”
“Ms Grant is definitely a role model for our young entrepreneurs and a guiding light for those who are contemplating what to do after they graduate from tertiary education,” Issa says.
Noting that the other finalists were from Malta, South Africa and Tonga, the article informed that Grant “will now act as a brand ambassador for Commonwealth businesswomen until the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Vanuatu in November 2017 and will join the judging panel for the next award.”
Another trait which Issa says also resonates with him is Grant’s humility, as she credits the success of her businesses to her team, a quality which Issa has demonstrated throughout his nearly-four decades as a CEO and entrepreneur.
Issa is known for setting the standards for the success of his businesses and engaging his staff to follow them; and when they do, he credits the employees for a job well done, a quality which has made him one of the country’s most popular businessmen and one of Jamaica’s most recognizable faces, according to the Jamaica Observer.
A geospatial analyst, Grant is managing director of GeoTechVision Enterprises Ltd (Jamaica) and GeoTechVision Guyana Inc (Guyana), “companies which have been assisting businesses, agencies and government ministries in 15 Caribbean countries with geographic information systems and global positioning systems products and solutions.”
According to The Gleaner article, “The entrepreneur also holds a Masters degree in Geographic Information Systems and Environment from the Manchester Metropolitan University.
She is also a member of the board of directors for URISA Inte
Most of us would like a watch, chain or smart phone for our birthday, but for Eucharistic Minister of the Roman Catholic Church, Joe Issa, who has built a small conglomerate on a Cool brand of over 50 companies, all he wanted was a gift from above, from God’s humble servant here on earth; and that’s just what he got on the first day of Christmas: an invisible blessing from Pope Francis
Issa’s birthday, which falls on December 1, had special meaning this year, his 50th. “All my birthdays have been special to me, but this year, it has been made extra special with the Pope’s blessings,” he says, while admiring the parchment scroll he received from the Vatican.
Technology savvy Joey, as he is fondly called, this year received was an Apostolic Blessing from Pope John Francis on the occasion of his landmark 50th birthday.
The papal blessing, which is invisible to the eye, of course, is represented by a certificate for keepsake, which takes the form of a parchment scroll, hand painted with calligraphy, design with the papal seal and signature.
Issa’s Apostolic Blessing reads: “The Holy Father Francis cordially imparts the requested Apostolic Blessing to Joseph John Issa on the occasion of his 50th Birthday invoking through the intercession of the Virgin Mary an abundance of Divine graces, December 1, 2015.”
According to Wikipedia’s at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostolic_Blessing, the term Apostolic Blessing also referred to as papal blessing, “is a blessing imparted by the Pope, either directly or by delegation through others,” noting that “bishops are empowered to grant it three times a year and any priest can do so for the dying.” It cautions against confusing Apostolic Blessing with Episcopal blessing, which is also known as pontifical blessing that bishops can impart at any time by their own authority.
But not everyone is normally entitled to the papal blessings, including Joey who, as a young man, once kissed the ring of Pope John Paul when, during his visit to Jamaica, paid a courtesy call to his devout Catholic parents a function in Kingston. Only baptized Catholics can receive papal blessings; and they are denied to the dead, inanimate objects and animals.
Papal Blessings are issued either directly by the Pope or indirectly through another baptized Catholic, and are given for specific occasions such as birthdays at ages 18, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 and 100, and weddings anniversaries at 10, 25, 40, 50 and 60 years, says the Office of Papal Charities in Vatican City, at http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/institutions_connected/elem_apost/documents/rc_elemosineria_doc_20130218_benedizioni_en.html.
They are also issued for priestly ordinations, religious profession, Anniversaries of religious profession, baptisms, first communions, confirmations, and conversions. However, they will not be given for death, anniversaries of death, or birth (because one is not a Catholic until one is baptized). The blessings are also not issued for events already passed.
Joe Issa, executive chairman of Cool Group of companies congratulates Canada’s Prime Minister-designate, Justin Trudeau, whom he took jet skiing and dined with several times on one of his many visits to Ocho Rios, Jamaica. He became that country’s 42nd leader, following the General Elections held on October 19, 2015 according to Radio Jamaica news.
“I am happy for the opportunity to congratulate Justin, who loves Ocho Rios and admires Jamaica and Jamaicans…he is full of energy and wants to see Jamaica be the success it ought to be… he always has a great time here and makes many positive remarks about the Nation’s soul…he loves the service, beaches and feels comfortable being here,” says Issa.
Issa, in an interview stated that Justin’s passion for politics was always a part of him: “Quite frankly, I am not surprised he has won the general elections, as he spoke quite passionately about building on Canada’s previous leaders’ successes such as his father, Pierre Trudeau, as well as another visitor to Ocho Rios, whom I also had the pleasure of hosting, former Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chretien.”
According to Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_federal_election,_2015, “the 2015 Canadian federal election (formally the 42nd Canadian general election) was held on October 19, 2015 to elect members to the House of Commons of the 42nd Canadian Parliament.”
It said Justin’s Liberal Party, of which he became leader on April 14, 2013, won 184 of the 338-seat House of Commons, exceeding the 170-seat majority needed to form the government, following one of Canada’s longest general elections campaign spanning 78 days.
The Liberal Party, which came into the general elections as the third party with just 36 seats, increased its tally by 148 and captured 39.5% of the popular vote, with 31.9% going to the Conservative Party of incumbent Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, who made an official visit to Jamaica just a few years ago. Having lost 60 of the 159 seats his party held before the elections, Harper has since resigned as leader.
Meanwhile, Tom Mulcair, who became leader of the New Democratic Party on March 24, 2012 and came into the elections as the second party with 95 seats, lost 51 seats and has been relegated to the third-party position, with 19.7% of the popular vote.
Born in Ottawa, Ontario on Christmas Day to Pierre Trudeau and Margaret Trudeau (nee Sinclair), Justine Pierre James Trudeau, who will be 44 years old this year, “is the second child in Canadian history to be born when one of his parents was prime minister; the first was John A. Macdonald‘s youngest daughter, Margaret Mary Macdonald.”
Justin married Sophie Gregoire in 2005. He has three children, Xavier, Hadrien and Ella-Grace; two brothers, Alexandre and Michael and one half-brother, Kale Kemper; and two half-sisters, Sarah Coyne and Alicia Kemper. He resides in Montreal and his alma mater is McGill University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature. He also graduated with a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia.
Issa, who, like Justin Trudeau is a December-born and a Roman Catholic says, “From what I know of Justin and how he felt about Jamaica when he was last here, he should be a great ally of the country. I’m looking forward to the new policies which he will initiate as Prime Minister and the benefits these will bring to Jamaica; it will also be nice to host him again in his new capacity.”