A Tribute to the Life of Dr. Paul Chen-Young Economist, Banker and Entrepreneur

Nothing can ever deny Paul Chen-Young his pride of place in the annals of Jamaican history, he was a pioneer extraordinaire, economist and entrepreneur who possessed unmatched drive and energy.

markchungDoctor Paul Chen-Young accepts a plaque from Jamaican Ambassador to the United States Her Excellency Audrey Marks.So, it was with sadness that I learnt of the loss of this son of Jamaica, who died in Maryland early this week. True to his reputation, he did not go out without a valiant fight against his illness. A man with a big heart, Dr. Paul Chen-Young was always overflowing with ideas from which Jamaica’s development would benefit.

I had gotten to know Dr. Chen Young much more over the years through his children Michael, Gerald and Claudine, who all live in the Washington DC/ Maryland area. The Chen Young family has distinguished themselves as outstanding members of the Jamaica diaspora, all having attained high academic and professional achievements. But they are particularly recognized as great friends of the Embassy of Jamaica, very involved in philanthropy and giving back to Jamaica.  Their lives reflect the patriotism and values modeled to them in no small measure because of the life of their beloved father. I convey my sincere condolences to them and also to Dr. Chen-Young’s sister, Monica CY Weaver, who is also a philanthropist and an active member of the Washington DC ICHS alumnae association. 

We join the family in mourning their irreplaceable loss but with time we know they will reflect with thanksgiving on a life well lived and be able to draw strength to carry on. My personal message to the family is “what he bequeathed to you as a family was no ordinary legacy.” 

He was for me and generations of entrepreneurs in Jamaica and elsewhere the quintessential entrepreneur who pursued the mission of pioneering business with unparalleled drive, passion and sense of purpose.  Although having faced failures and losses he never gave up or cower in the face of challenges, he confronted them with steely resolve, eyes fixed on the ultimate goal of success.

Following a World Bank career that started in 1966, Dr. Chen-Young held top management positions in Jamaica at Development Finance Corporation, among other places, and was instrumental in the establishment of Workers Savings and Loan Bank. Dr. Chen-Young also served in key chairman and director leadership roles, including with the Jamaica Stock Exchange; National Savings Commission; Bank of Jamaica; Jamaica Development Bank; Scientific Research Council; National Housing Trust; Jamaica Bureau of Standards; JAMPRO; National Water Commission; Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation; and Edna Manley Foundation.

Dr. Chen Young however became best known for his entrepreneurial endeavors, from the Chen-Young Associates economic and financial consulting firm he started, to the building of the Eagle Financial Network financial companies which grew to become, at one point, the largest Jamaican-owned financial complex. His achievements as an indefatigable entrepreneur were recognized by many prestigious awards including:The 1990 Investors Choice Magazine recognition of Dr. Chen-Young as Entrepreneur of the Decade (of the 1980s), Howard University’s “Distinguished Postgraduate Achievement in the Field of Business”; Financial Gleaner’s “Business Achiever of the 1990s; and the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce “Human Face of Business”

Dr. Paul Chen-Young also left us a legacy in his writings, notably The Entrepreneurial Journey in Jamaica: When Policies Derail and publications such as the 1998 policy paper With All Good Intentions: The Collapse of Jamaica's Domestic Financial Sector, for the Center for Strategic International Studies in Washington, D.C.

I convey to Dr. Chen-Young’s family, friends, associates, and well-wishers along the way, my sincere sympathies as we celebrate his life and imagine his spirit now soaring on eagles’ wings. Rest in peace, Paul Chen-Young.

H.E. Audrey P. Marks

Ambassador of Jamaica

Washington, D.C.

May 7, 2020