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“Education is the solution to various problems currently facing Guyana and other developing countries. The success stories of today – most of which are from South East Asia – have been based on education. By dealing with education, you pre-empt a series of other problems.”By Latoya Giles The Oxford Dictionary defines humility as a quality of being modest and respectful. That sort of egolessness finds its personification in astute businessman, philanthropist, former politician and motor racing enthusiast, Stanley Ming.Born in Georgetown in 1951, Ming spent his early childhood years in a rented house at Public Road, Kitty, with both parents and five other siblings. He was privileged enough to attend a private school in the early days.Stanley MingHe remembers that at the age of 10, his family moved, on the initiative of his mother, who was very influential in his life, to their own home in Campbellville. After writing his primary school examinations, Ming was awarded a spot at Queen’s College.To show their appreciation for his hard work, Ming said his parents bought a bicycle for him. The bicycle, he said, was one of the most useful gifts he ever received, as this was his main means of going to and from school daily. While attending high school, Ming said he vividly remembers that his mother, who was always driven, opened a small shop. Although his father was employed, Ming said that his mother, who had already began a kitchen garden, pursued the new venture to assist the household with extra finances.According to Ming, the move his mother made by opening that small business in some kind of a way was the stepping stone for him. He said that being in the shop taught him the basic business techniques which propelled him to become a successful businessman today.“Being a part of my mother’s small business, taught me how to work hard and be persistent,” Ming explained.Upon his completion of High School, Ming said that he had to sacrifice furthering his education. He began working at the Yamaha Motorcycle Sales Company at Geddes Grant in 1972. This job sparked his passion for motorcycles. Ming said he was now earning more money that his father, who worked as a clerk at Lall’s Business Establishment. However, even with that job, Ming said he still felt the need for more.So instead of just sitting back, he quickly thought of a way which would generate more funds. He opened a motorcycle repair shop, where he would mostly work on weekends, but also whenever he got off from his job during the week.Ming said he spent two years at Geddes Grant, before gaining another job at Technical Services and Supplies Limited, where he attained the position of assistant manager.Four years later, he left for England, a place, he reflected, that was vastly different from Guyana. He said that the winter was something he “really couldn’t handle” so he returned to Guyana.  Ming joined Industrial Engineering Limited where he worked for 10 years before branching off to his own business.Go-kart thrills! Ming and his son (both in red suits in foreground) on the circuit at South Dakota,a few years ago.And then there was his love for motor racing. He first ventured onto the South Dakota Circuit, at Timehri, some 26 miles or so from the capital, in 1971 and over the years remained a force to reckon with in the field of motorcycling, both here and in the Caribbean.Regionally, motor racing has taken him to such places as Barbados, Jamaica and Cuba, while internationally he has participated in meets in both England and “across the pond,” which is how the `Brits’ sometimes describe the United States. He has ridden at Brands Hatch, Snetterton, Cadwell Park, and Lydden, all circuits that just so happen to be located in the English county of Kent in Southeast England, and at the Daytona International Speedway which can be found in Daytona Beach, Florida, in the USA.He was the motorcycle Grass-track Racing Champion for several years.  From 1980 to 1985 he raced at Daytona Int’l Speedway, Florida, U.S.A., in the 250cc Grand Prix Class and from 1971 – 1985 he raced at the South Dakota Circuit in the 50cc, 100cc,Cheap NFL Jerseys China, 250cc and 350cc Motorcycle events, where he secured a number of championships.Ming was also Caribbean Motorcycle Champion for four years.In 1991, he decided to take up go-kart racing and this continues to be one of his many passions up to this day. But participating on the circuit is only a part of Ming’s connection with the speedway, as he has also represented the Guyana Motor Racing and Sports Club (GMR&SC) at the level of President, in which capacity he has served from 1987 to 1991, and from 2000 to 2002.Besides fishing, golf and table tennis, which also rank among his passions, he does seem to have a soft spot for home-bred humanitarian organizations like ‘Special Olympics-Guyana’ of which he was a committee member for a number of years.Since the early 90s, he has been both a Rotarian and committee member of the NGO, ‘Habitat for Humanity’.In 1987, Ming married Michele Phang, an Optometrist Opthalmic Optician.Their union produced three daughters – Stacy, Siobhan and Serena – and one son, Stanley (Jnr.)Most successful ventureBy far, his most successful venture has been Ming’s Products & Services Ltd (MPS), which was established in 1990, in a section of a rented building in Tiger Bay, with a staff of four, limited financial and other resources. He said that the company began engaging with the community to help residents reach a higher standard of living.Being sworn in as a Member of Parliament in 2001Ming explained that it was done through particular series of strategic donations to further education. He reflected that that ensured the physical security of the business as well as the company’s ability to secure loyal, motivated and skilled labour to support its growth over the years.He explained that the company is the exclusive Guyana distributor for the entire range of products manufactured by Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd of Japan, including outboard engines, motorcycles, generators, water pumps and water vehicles. Ming said that the entity is also the exclusive distributor for the entire range of motor vehicles manufactured by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, – Japan.Fifteen years later, MPS employs 50 people and has expanded to encompass three large properties in the area.MotivationWhen the company started up in Tiger Bay it was clear to the management of MPS that the area suffered high rates of crime. Blatant robberies were common.“Back then, Tiger Bay was known for ‘choke and rob’ because that was what happened to outsiders  that went there,” he explained. He said they recognised that security was a major issue for the company, both in terms of the safety of its customers and employees, and the risk of theft.A charming portrait of the Ming familyFaced with this challenge, Ming framed the choices thus: “We had the choice of investing in high walls and barbed wire or investing in the community. MPS chose to invest in the community, adopting a management philosophy focused on developing good business-community relations and uplifting the quality of life in the neighbourhood.”Convinced of its utmost importance to development, including the reduction of crime, Ming’s company chose to target education.“Education is the solution to various problems currently facing Guyana and other developing countries. The success stories of today – most of which are from South East Asia – have been based on education. By dealing with education, you pre-empt a series of other problems.”This focus was also chosen based on the reasoning that it would allow his company to not only recruit loyal and motivated employees, but also skilled workers with the capacity for further development. He also reasoned that in the long term, it would assist in the development of a larger client base for the company’s goods and services.“The company’s longstanding close relationship with the community began when it took the initiative to contact community members, particularly the elder leaders, to identify their most pressing needs. Many problems were identified, including drug addiction, poverty, crime and a lack of education.Back in the 1980s at a Daytona Race Meet in the USAWe have helped address the issues in various ways, including developing a community-based security group, providing drug-rehab services and actively hiring and training disadvantaged youths from the community.”The businessman disclosed that he would also generously give to children who excel at various countrywide examinations. Only recently he donated laptop computers to the top performers of the Grade Six Assessment Examinations.Ming’s company has engaged in many other ventures to promote education, including partnering with Banks DIH and Shell Antilles Guyana Ltd. to provide school children living in the riverain areas surrounding Bartica with a large fibreglass boat and engine to ensure that they can attend secondary school in Bartica. Prior to this transportation facility, children from the various communities tended to finish schooling at the primary level.Ming asserted that MPS has directly benefited from its philosophy of community development, but says that there are other concerns which have evolved. “The company faces new issues that threaten the sustainability of the business, including the lack of a growing population and the increased effects of the ‘brain-drain’ phenomenon felt not only in Guyana, but throughout the Caribbean.”BRIEF POLITICAL STINTA former parliamentarian, Ming briefly noted that he also dabbled in politics for awhile, but lost interest in it and quit. Describing himself as a pragmatist by nature, he said of his association with the main opposition People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), of which he was the Prime Ministerial candidate up until he tendered his resignation from its Central Executive just before the August 28, 2006 elections:“I did not go there (PNCR) to be just another politician. I went there to see how I could help change the country, but soon realized that I was not having very much success in that area, so I thought it would be better to help people in communities achieve some of their goals in a more objective way, and that is what I will continue to do as long as I am here.”
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