When we say that Elias Lutfy Azan was a “family man,” reference is made, naturally, to widow Yasmin, their sons Lutfy and Omar, his mother Angie, his grandchildren, and the wider Azan clan. But this title didn’t stop there. As a car runs on four wheels, the engine that was Elias ran on four families. His immediate family, the nearly one thousand people who helped him run Bashco, his Christian family from which he drew his faith and inspiration, and the Munro family to which he gave generously of his energy and wisdom.
Elias was born in Kingston on the 21st of June 1956, one hundred years after Munro College was born in Black River. He attended Munro from 1967 to 1974. He did not excel in the sporting arena, but he honed his leadership skills while working hard to achieve ten “O” levels and one “A” level. In 1972 he became Pearman Calder House Captain, and a year later was appointed Head Prefect of Munro College as well as Company Sergeant Major of the Munro College Cadet Force. In 1974, as Regimental Sgt. Major at cadet camp in Moneague, he was awarded the Moxsy Baton for outstanding leadership.
Further education with two more A levels was attained at Brummana High School in Lebanon and Ealing Technical College in London where he got a Higher National Diploma in Business Administration. While at Ealing he mentored his 12-year-old cousin and now fellow inductee Gassan Elias Azan. Referencing his mentoring and care is not complete without mentioning his sister Donna and brother Joseph with whom he got along like proverbial peas in a pod.
His world of work began in the United Arab Emirates, as an accountant at Ras Al Khaimah in 1977. In 1979, he returned to the Caribbean to join the family business, Alamac Trading Company in Barbados. Within two years, Elias married Yasmin Batson and the union produced Lutfy in 1983 and Omar in 1985.
Elias would spend 29 years in the family business, moving from Warehouse Manager to Sales Manager, then General and Operations Manager and finally Managing Director of Alamac Group of Companies. After the death of his father, he sold the Azan interest to the Facey Group in 2008 and finally returned to Jamaica.
He had blazed an enviable trail in Barbados. He served the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Barbados Manufactures Association, rising to Acting President. He was Honorary Consul of Jamaica to Barbados from 1992 to 2008, but still found time for the PTA of St. Cyprians Prep School, and to become Vice President of the Jamaican Association of Barbados, and Founding Member of Abundant Life Assembly, Barbados. He became such as expert on doing business in the country that in 2001 he was invited by Agriculture Canada to give a presentation to manufacturers and producers on “Exporting to Barbados.”
On his return to Jamaica, he plunged into Bashco and became the veritable Mr. Bashco. No department of its operation escaped his innovative reorganizational hands. This thorough analysis and implementation took place in all aspects of the business accounting procedures, inventory control, stocktaking, personnel training, efficient reporting, and the introduction of grocery items in 2014, all done with the gentle reminder, “It is people, Gods’ children, we are dealing with.”
He remained Group Director of Operations for Bashco Trading Co. Ltd from 2008 until he was called to higher service in 2021.
In 2012 when Senator Arthur Williams was voted President of the MCOBA, Elias was drafted as Vice President, and became the all-important right hand who implemented Arthur’s vision on the ground, with innovations such as this Hall of Fame. In late 2016 Arthur Williams was appointed High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago and Elias was elected President. The projects the association undertook expanded and Elias’ energy expanded with them. In 2019 he was appointed Chairman of the Board of Governors of Munro College.
Elias was also recognised for his national service, including the Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation, in 2003, for service to Jamaican residents outside of Jamaica and a Badge of Honour for Meritorious Service, in 2008, as Honorary Consul to Barbados. In that same year he was awarded the Order of Distinction from the Government of Jamaica for service to Jamaica and Jamaicans in Barbados.
Without his faith, his family, and the extended families he was a part of, he could never have accomplished the massive amount he did, and he did it all with a confident smile. We thank his family for their part in it all.
Today, for the above and other reasons, we proudly induct Mr. Elias Lutfy Azan OD, JP into the Munro College Old Boys Association Hall of Fame.