Sabga-Aboud apologises

After CNN show comments upset public

By Rhondor Dowlat
June 28, 2017 –

Mario Sabga-AboudChairman of the Global Brands Group of Companies, Mario Sabga-Aboud, has described yesterday as “one of my worst days ever.”

Sabga-Aboud was responding to the public outcry on social media and the one-man protest staged in front one of his establishments in Maraval yesterday, about a statement he made on the CNN Anthony Bourdain show “Parts Unknown.”

Addressing his critics, Sabga-Aboud humbly apologised and admitted he used his words carelessly. He, however, praised his members of staff, whom he described as family and credited them for his accomplishments.

During Bourdain’s visit to T&T for the taping of the show, one of his dinner sessions was at Bayshore with Sabga-Aboud and several of his family members. The conversation started up with the Syrian-Lebanese community’s arrival in T&T and then went on to note the community was the smallest ethnic group in T&T with just under 5,000. This was where Sabga-Aboud interjected, saying “but the most powerful, well almost the most powerful.” He then said he was “very big in the food business” with 120 restaurants and referred to himself as the “Starbucks of the Caribbean.”

In a statement yesterday, Sabga-Aboud said he misrepresented himself and his values.

Full Article :

17 thoughts on “Sabga-Aboud apologises”


    Wednesday, June 28 2017 –

    FOLLOWING calls to boycott his businesses over statements he made on Anthony Bourdain’s ‘Parts Unknown’ cable television series, business magnate and chairman of Global Brands Group of Companies Mario Sabga-Aboud yesterday issued a public apology.

    In a segment of the show, which was aired on CNN last Sunday, Bourdain sat down with the Sabga-Aboud family at their home in Bayshore, Westmoorings where he was told by (Mario) Sabga-Aboud that while the Syrian/Lebanese community is the smallest ethnic group in the country, it is the most powerful.

    In a statement addressed to his ‘fellow citizens’, Sabga-Aboud yesterday described his words as “careless” as he ended up misrepresenting himself and his values.

    Full Article :

  2. Artist comments on ‘haves and have nots’ speech on CNN’s Parts Unknown
    “At one time we used to have a huge middle class which was a security in terms of any possible conflict between the “haves” and the “have nots”. But now that’s eroding and they’re getting poorer so they’re starting to get angry,” he said.

    ‘Most powerful’: Sabga-Aboud apologises
    …says he misrepresented himself

    Social media has since been abuzz over the remarks and over further comments made by businessman Peter George at the same dinner, where he refers to the shrinking middle class as a “security” between the “haves and have-nots”.

    Gary Aboud Distances Himself From Cousin’s Statements
    “The views represented on the program were made, in my view, by “a community within a community” and not the community itself. I am not a member of that small community within a community and neither are countless other humble Trinbagonian citizens of Syrian-Lebanese heritage.”

    Bourdain crime piece an indictment on T&T—Solomon
    US travel guide Anthony Bourdain’s recent documentary on T&T, which should have been an opportunity to showcase local food and culture, unfortunately turned out to be more of a crime documentary on the country, says Opposition Senator Daniel Solomon.

  3. There is no doubt that the statement made by Mr. Peter George in respect to the Syrian/Lebanese hold on economic power in this country. I agree with TMan that this is mostly the fault of the PNM. One of the failings of black leadership is the failure to recognize that the black entrepreneur can be just as successful as their Indian and Syrian counterparts. The PNM fails every time they gain power to put trust in the power of black entrepreneurship. Lip service is paid but, NEVER to the point of actually giving government contracts to black people. There is great trust placed in the Lebanese/Syrian community as antidote to the Indian hold on the economy. But it will be good social policy as well to empower black entrepreneurs to become an integral part of the economic development of this country.

  4. I started to boycott their stores since the early 80′, i would enter the T-boutique store in port of spain, and on many occasions 3 or 4 flying squad policemen would be in the store acting deviously, i was not a fool then, knowing that the Syrian/Lebanese males were the biggest importers of GANGA into Trinidad.Now, haven’t AHBU BAKHR been speaking out against the criminal activities of the Syrian/Lebanese mafia for years? they will try their best to control the fall out , but the time is now to mass boycott their enterprises,these criminally minded so-called christians of Syrian/Lebanese origins are nothing but CROOKS lurking in the shadows, masking as Trinidadians, but in reality, Vampires.Can a black policeman in Trinidad look at his brother/ sister in the eye and say that he is protecting and serving them? these corrupt scrum of the earth black men are in the pockets of these crime infested 50000+ Syrian/Lebanese, while hunting down the black foot soldiers working for the Syrian/Lebanese mafia.We have no other choice but to take the fight to them, hit where it hurts, boycott their businesses.There is a lesson to be learnt with what presently happening in Syria, hundreds of millions of dollars is presently lying at the floor of the mediterranean sea, by these people fleeing the country,fleeing from a war they started within. If this story doesn’t arouse the consciousness of blacks in Trinidad, i don’t know what will.

    1. And so the story goes my friend!!!!. Our problem? Too much talk. The PNM is only there to get black votes and do absolutely nothing about their loyal supporters when they get in power. How much did the government give the Shouter Baptists to celebrate their day? – the amount tells a lot of what I am talking about. A low priority is placed on black lives in this country, the term ‘black lives matter’ does not apply in this country and the loyal black supporter must demand something for his support. There is absolutely nothing new here. That is how Trinidad and Tobago was constructed and that is what will propel it or destroy it. But at some point in time the load that black people are carrying will get too heavy. When you have nothing to loose, you also have nothing to gain.

      Problem with black leaders is that they are easily bought.
      Geddes Grainger was an inspirational leader until he became Maakandal Daaga. That’s when we lost sight of what we were fighting and became entrapped with ‘fighting to unite’.
      Great men fight their battles with their convictions, when they succeed then they negotiate or compromise on their terms. But till then weakness could never equal strength.
      I just saw a video of the house that Moonilal built in Gulf View with black people protesting on a truck. There is no way Moonilal or his family could ever enjoy that massive palace. The need to protect it will ALWAYS be there, as long as he is alive and PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS WONDER HOW HE GOT IT. But some see that as progress!! Oh WhatA Country.

  5. I have started boycotting their business. Our Government sold our country to the Syrians and Trinidadians continue to give them the economic power and control by patronising their businesses. As the Syrians grow richer their security ‘the middle class’is getting poorer. Tell Me how are the guns and drugs coming into our country? Who is bringing it in? There is plenty of talk on the streets that they are involved. They have their hands in almost every area of business. Most of us have to budget our salaries to purchase food. Compare the prices of food item in Massy stores, it seems to rise monthly.

    I have even heard of intermarriage taking place among this elite group. Syrians support businesses owned by other Syrians. They call themselves Trinidadians, NO, they are Arabs first and the only interest they have in Trinidad and Trinidadians is how much they can take from our pockets.

    I am Trinidadian not Trinidaydian and I can safely say that while we are distracted being racist and nasty to each other, the Syrians are busy purchasing our land and lives from under us. We as a people have allowed this. We allowed our Government to separate us as a people. The Syrians simply used us and them to their advantage and who could blame them?

  6. The future I see for Trinis is that we may all find ourselves working for the Syrians one day and it will be indentured slavery all over again and Trinidad and Tobago will be called little Syria or perhaps little Lebanon. They will own all our lands, our children and our lives. Mario Sabga-Aboud by his own admonition have shown us that we are nothing more than sheep to them and we exist to ensure that they the 1percent survive and enjoy their luxurious lifestyles while the hard-working middle class provide ‘security’ for them.

    Look at the colour of the hands that served them their dinner. That is where they wish us to be, that is the only place they want us to be.

    So my fellow Trinidadians, where do we go from here?

    1. Aspire to achieve similar goals. Opportunities are available to all. It is a lengthy process. Each generation must consciously build wealth to ensure that they “leave something” however small, for the next generation. Entrepreneurship and wealth building are difficult processes which require sacrifice, dedication, hard work.

      1. Do not forget the countless illegal activities that it has been alleged they have been involved in… e.g importing illegal guns in containers of cloth, transshipment of cocaine between South America and Europe, bribery on all levels, including, Commissioners of Police, Customs Officials, and politicians. There have been allegations of murder over the years. Don’t forget the privileges that racism affords them. So I guess if these allegations are true then they would have to be part of the script to follow in order to achieve their kind of success.

        1. We have to be very careful when we stereotype communities. We are all members of ethnic minorities in T&T, making us susceptible to criticism, derision and ethnic rivalry.
          Let us not paint the entire Syrian/ Lebanese community with one brush. They have produced comedians, panmen, entertainers, judges,calypsonians, doctors, lawyers, politicians, masmen, etc.
          Let us not let this one interview taint out perspective.

          1. Although I said alleged, I do have some experiences of what I am speaking about. I may not be able to prove it today, given how much time has passed. I will stick with “alleged” to be legally correct. There are other people in Trinidad and Tobago who know better too.

        2. I remember as a young man ,the Syrians/Lebanese businessmen who my late father did business with. They were hardworking, family men of honor who respected people with similar values.

          1. Syrian/Lebanese complain about book by UWI lecturer

            By Irene Medina
            January 08, 2012 –

            THE local Syrian/Lebanese community has decided to take action against claims of a long reputed link to the international drug trade and they have zeroed in on a University of the West Indies lecturer who has published a book accusing leading members of the local Arab community of trafficking in drugs.

            The book is entitled “Cocaine and Heroin Trafficking in the Caribbean – The Case of Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Guyana,” and was published in 2004.

            In his book Figueira claim that “the dominant race” involved in the illicit drug transshipping organisation/race groupings are the Syrian/Lebanese grouping.”

            He claimed as well that within the community there is “a division of labour in which the illicit trade is masked by the legitimate front businesses and money laundering operations that pass for legitimate businesses.”

  7. BARATARIA /San Juan MP Dr Fuad Khan is appealing for forgiveness for business magnate Mario Sabga- Aboud following his “most powerful” comments.
    In a statement, Khan said the country should not forget that the Sabga- Aboud family was able to build an empire from nothing over the course of several generations and instead of envying them people should instead aspire to achieve similar goals.

    He added that the Sabga-Aboud family has created employment for tens of thousands of citizens through years in business and that is the type of cooperation and collaboration which is required in the country to build a better nation. He said it is only through unity the people of this country will succeed and only by forgiving each other they can attain this harmony.

    Khan said it was unfortunate that the interview between the Sabga-Aboud family and Bourdain snowballed into another conversation concerning the ethnic divide in the country, rather than one regarding the growing gap between the upper and lower classes.

    He said despite the emotional responses which have hijacked the discussion, there was very little said during the programme that was not an accurate depiction of the social class in the nation, including the remarks about the disappearing “middle class.”

  8. The problem in T&T is, we certainly do not have shared core values amongst ourselves such as discipline, respect, work ethic etc. as a nation. It appears that it is the norm for us to be caught up in petty jealousies. Chinese business people are packing up and returning to their home land, murders and criminal activities are getting out of hand (the senseless murder of that 13 year old), it appears kidnapping is re-entering the activity of getting easy money,the blacks and Indians keep nipping at one another in name calling and useless accusations e.g., Kamla introducing state of emergency and Rowley appearing to be losing a sense of direction to manage the affairs of the country and prioritizing. Yet, the Syrians do live in mansions and none of them seeking employment to collect garbage. There is indeed a gulf between the haves and have nots with the steady erosion of the middle class and is it going to get better when the current call of the $TT is over valued. The Syrians/Lebanese would never pack up and leave. Their mantra is ‘and this too shall pass’ leaving the blacks and Indians to fight amongst themselves promoting the divide and rule concept. Money talks! Some Trinis like to collect without sweating.

  9. All I saw was an “Foreigner” came to Trinidad…. had lunch with the “Most Poerful”…. then head back foreign…. one can be confused with an honest cultural interview or high profile transhipment….

Comments are closed.