Following trade union march … GARY ABOUD TAKES ON ROGET

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Gary Aboud is taking on trade unionist Ancel Roget over the call for the people of Trinidad and Tobago to boycott businesses owned by the “one percent”.

That one percent means the Syrian/Lebanese community, according to Rituals owner, Mario Sabga-Aboud in a CNN report two months ago.

Gary Aboud, CEO of Mode Alive Trading Company, urged Roget to use the law in the fight against corruption.

In a media release on Sunday, Aboud said, “If Mr Roget wants to tackle those who bribe their way into power let him activate the law against them.”

Aboud added, “I’ll assist in any way I can, I promise. If he wants to widen or inflame the racial chasms in my native land, I will fight him every step along the way.”

Aboud said he was offended as a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago by Roget’s call to shut-down businesses owned and operated by the one per cent.

Aboud said it was not only members of the Syrian/Lebanese community that were enjoying economic prosperity as persons such as parlour owners, barbers, building contractors, doctors, lawyers, soca performers, fishermen, artists and also trade unionists and their members were benefiting.

He said if Roget had a problem with persons enjoying such returns on their investments, “He should ask his local MP to present a bill in Parliament to outlaw the achievement of prosperity.”

Aboud said economic prosperity was a person’s constitutional right, as even trade union members had the ability to start any business of their choice.

The environmentalist added, “He wants to put a cap on everyone who achieves prosperity? Or he just wants to put a cap on the achievements of one minority?”

The elite one-per cent was first mentioned by businessman Mario Sabga-Aboud in the airing of travel star Anthony Bourdain’s segment on this country in his culinary show Parts Unknown, during which Sabga-Aboud claimed the Syrian-Lebanese community was the most powerful ethnic group in T&T.

Following public outrage over the statements deemed insensitive and irresponsible, Sabga-Aboud later issued a public apology.

Sabga-Aboud is the chairman of Global Brands Group of Companies and founder of the popular Rituals coffee shop chain.
Aboud said the remarks were not a correct and true representation of the entire Syrian/Lebanese community.

He said it was a dangerous thing to demand economic sanctions against certain members of the business community for the arrogant remarks of two persons, Aboud said it was important to ensure the response was commensurate.

“Now Mr Roget wants to close down their businesses because of their self-pride or arrogance in thinking that they’re powerful? Is that really a good reason? Or is their something nasty lurking beneath? he asked.

Aboud asked, “Does Mr Roget have jobs to offer them (employees)?”

He said during Friday’s march, loud speakers were blaring messages to citizens not to shop inside “Syrian” shops, but concern had arisen as to who would employ and provide for the tens of thousands of staff if these businesses were to close down.

Aboud urged Roget and others to go in search of evidence that, “Where we find a bribe being paid, let’s put them in front a magistrate with no political agenda or alliance. Most importantly, let’s demand comprehensive campaign finance reform now.”

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