Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 26th 2015 Contents The T&T Chamber of Industry
is pleased to publish, over the next
two weeks, profiles of the 2015
inductees to the Business Hall of
Fame. This week, we reproduce an
edited version of the biography of
Bernard Dulal-Whiteway as
unveiled at the Champions of Busi-
ness gala awards on November 7,
2015.When Bernard Dulal-
Whiteway died six
years ago, it was a
huge loss not only to
his family and
friends, and to the
conglomerate he headed---Neal and Massy (as
it was then)---but to the country and to the
His son Graeme says Dulal-Whiteway would
have been pleased and proud at this recog-
"But," he explains, "Dad was a very humble
gentleman. He didn t like pomp and glory. He
only liked being in the spotlight when it was
a tool to spread ideas for the benefit of the
younger generation, for the future---unless it
was at the races and he had won the derby."
Dulal-Whiteway came from was Cedros.
He was one of eight children of a schoolteacher.
In 1966 young Bernard was working for Texaco,
and won a scholarship from the company to
study accountancy in England. There he mar-
ried Cheryl, née Sanguinette, a fellow south-
erner, and on their return home he joined Neal
and Massy as an accountant.
He rose rapidly through the group, working
in various arms. In 1987, he was the general
manager of Neal and Massy Industries Ltd,
which manufactured vehicles in Morvant. It
was Dulal-Whiteway who took the decision
to move the operation---a $50 million invest-
ment, which had 1,100 employees at its
height---to Santa Rosa, then a rural community.
The move proved a success, and a lot of the
employees---originally from Morvant---stayed
"That was an example of his being a vision-
ary," says Earl Boodasingh. Now an executive
director of Massy Holdings, Boodasingh also
joined the group as an accountant, and reported
to Dulal-Whiteway. The two had a close work-
ing relationship for 27 years.
Summing him up, Boodasingh recalls, "He
was a very charismatic leader. People listened
to what he had to say: he had a clear vision.
"He balanced cost-cutting and operational
efficiency. He was very frugal---but he also
liked to see growth.
"He was able to build consensus---although
he could be the iron fist in the velvet glove
But at the same time he was very much a
"He was upbeat and enthusiastic, interested
in people s careers."
Boodasingh personally benefited from Dulal-
Whiteway s firm belief in investing in young
"I went to Harvard Business School thanks
to him---and that wasn t cheap---and many
training courses. Other people did too. He said
you would train people, and they would leave---
but it was worse if you didn t train them, and
To Boodasingh, he was a mentor and friend
as well as a boss. He learned from seeing how
Dulal-Whiteway, even as a very senior manager,
acknowledged the importance of every single
"He had relationships with people from the
lowest to the highest in the company, and
they were built on trust and integrity. His
words and his actions were the same."
Dulal-Whiteway wasn t only being friendly,
though he had a profound respect for other
people. He believed in managing by walking
about "and being accessible. When someone
met you in the corridor, they would tell you
things they wouldn t tell you if they come to
visit you in your office. He said you could
learn more about a company from talking to
the cleaner than talking to some managers."
On a larger scale, Boodasingh recalls Dulal-
Whiteway as a "calculated risk-taker." This
led to some of his---and the group s---major
accomplishments. Dulal-Whiteway became
the executive chairman of Massy Integrated
Retail Inc, with bases in Miami, Guyana, St
Lucia and elsewhere in the region; revenues
of TT$7 billion; and 6,000 employees. Then
after he became group CEO in 2000, he dou-
bled the profits, and then doubled them again.
In 2007 he spearheaded what Boodasingh
calls "one of the most exciting acquisitions in
the Caribbean," that of the Barbados Shipping
& Trading Company, "the largest conglomerate
in Barbados---so Neal and Massy spread
throughout the whole Caribbean."
It was a huge undertaking for the group.
"People were frantic and upset but he was
extremely calm and thoughtful. He always
saw the bigger picture, and sought value for
The extent to which Dulal-Whiteway
thought ahead can be judged from his constant
emphasis on getting Neal and Massy staff to
learn Spanish, aware that the English-speaking
Caribbean was only "five million people---sur-
rounded by 270 million people who spoke
Dulal-Whiteway also reached out to young
people who were not among the group s staff.
He avidly supported the Neal and Massy Foun-
dation making it sustainable by arranging for
it to receive a percentage of group companies
profits. The foundation gives scholarships to
employees children, and runs a "Boys to Men"
programme four times a year in challenged
In addition to his heavy workload and
responsibilities, recalls Graeme, his only child,
somehow his father kept a rule he had set for
himself: always be home in time for the news
"He was very good at balancing his life in
that way. He was strict but a wonderful father.
He was dedicated, a shoulder to lean on.
Dulal-Whiteway also turned out as a medi-
um-pace bowler for Queen s Park and, in addi-
tion to his well-known interest in horseracing,
he also kept birds.
He found time too for public service, chairing
the Vision 2020 sub-committee on industry
and entrepreneurship. He was chairman of
Yara Trinidad, and sat on the boards of Republic
Bank, Trintoc, Ispat, Tidco, United Way and
His son lived overseas after finishing his
studies, but returned home two years before
the family learned his father was terminally
ill. During that time, "We were inseparable,"
Dulal-Whiteway s early death, in December
2009, was a blow for Neal and Massy too.
Neal and Massy Holdings chairman Arthur
Lok Jack called Dulal-Whiteway an inspirational
leader who touched many hearts.
Gervase Warner, who acted as CEO during
Dulal-Whiteway s illness, and then succeeded
him, echoed Lok Jack, and going so far as to
describe Dulal-Whiteway as "a sacred gift."
Graeme sees his father as an examplar:
"You don t have to have a cut-throat attitude
to be a businessman. People still write to me
about what a kind, gentle man he was. He
was never involved in any scandals or ques-
Summing up why Bernard Dulal-Whiteway
deserved to be inducted into the Business Hall
of Fame, Earl Boodasingh singles out the
breadth of his vision.
"Bernard understood the importance of
business in the wider community. He under-
stood profit, he knew companies had to do
well but he understood all facets of it. He was
passionate about the Caribbean, the role busi-
ness could play to integrate the Caribbean
community, and the wider contribution it
could make in T&T."
It was therefore with great honour that the
T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce
inducted Bernard Dulal-Whiteway into its
Business Hall of Fame on November 7, 2015.
NOVEMBER 26 • 2015 www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | BG15
T&T Chamber of
Industry and Commerce
Business Hall of Fame Inductee 2015
Bernard understood the
importance of business in the
wider community. He
understood profit, he knew
companies had to do well but
he understood all facets of it.
He was passionate about the
Caribbean, the role business
could play to integrate the
Caribbean community, and the
wider contribution it could
make in T&T.
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