There is no shortage of spectacular places on this planet. Natural wonders that only Mother Nature could have created. Old Faithful geyser at Yellowstone has been thrilling people for many years. Niagara falls with it's powerful display of turbulent cascading water. The Grand Canyon, Mount Everest or perhaps something simple as a golden sunset. We stand and view all these
sights and often times, we are made to feel quite small by comparison. We may not always have the words to express how this makes us feel. Beauty and grandeur. All around the globe. We simply stand in silence as we take in all that nature has put forth. People have written great literary works that have only enhanced the already awesome spectacle. Others have captured the scenes with glorious paintings, vibrantly represented on canvas. Still others have composed works of musical artistry that tell their own story.
I walked amongst the splendid giant redwood trees that may be a thousand years old and marveled at the solemnity that I felt. Looking up at these magnificent pillars can only make us gaze in amazement. Silent. Powerful. Inspiring. Humbling.
Then there are the creations that mankind has built. No less inspiring. A huge skyscraper that started out ;as just an idea in some one's mind. Some sketches on a piece of paper that eventually were turned into viable structures that house businesses or living quarters or museums. The
Taj
Mahal
was one mans tribute to a woman he loved. The
man made
creation of a huge damn, holding back millions of tons of water. Then we harnessed that unlimited power. If someone can think it up, someone else can probably make it.
I stood inside the walls of
Notre
Dame Cathedral with its
careful
created
buttresses
and architecture that was born out of one persons mind. It
was
all I could do to stand silently,
scanning
every corner of the building and be amazed. When visiting the Louvre, I found one glorious sight after another. From the dark colors of a Rembrandt to the Mona Lisa to the statue of David. All these great works of are have been offering their beauty for centuries. Each had an intensity and
complexity
that all began in the mind of a single individual.

There was another individual that had a dream, had an image that on one else before him had though about. His name was Abraham
Issa
, who, along with his farther, Elias Abraham, born on May 29, 1876, left their homeland of
Bethlehem
Palestine, to come to America. They
were
going to attend the
World's
Fair in Chicago. It was March 1893.

Amid the
magnificent
structures which housed the main exhibitions,
wre
several walkways where
foreign
vendors displayed their wares. It was there that
young
Abe and his father had a stall selling rosaries, altar of roses, altar cloths and other
items
from the Holy land. They did not do so well in this venture. The space was expensive and not well situated since they had stopped in Italy and France along the way and arrived to find the most desirable booths already rented or sold. They lost a great deal of money. Then father and son moved on to the mid-winter fair at
San Francisco
where they broke even on their trading.
Their next stop was to be New York. And from there they planned to take their goods to
Guatemala
. Elias had been there in 1888.
The
Issas
purchased their goods for the voyage.
Haberdashery
, table cloths and other dry goods only to learn that new duties had been imposed which would make their journey unprofitable. Now they had a problem and didn't know what to do. Just by chance, Elias happened to go into Palestinian tobacconist who spotted him as a fellow countryman. He told the senior
Issa
about an island of
Jamaica
where he had
been
to the Great International Exhibition of 1891. Many visitors to the exhibition had come from the Middle East and decided to stay on. Most
originated
in Lebanon with others from
Damascus
in Syria and
Bethlehem
, Palestine.

The father son team started out primarily as small businessmen
specializing
in clothing and other dry goods. It was from these humble
beginnings
that many of Jamaica's most
successful
industrial and commercial enterprises grew to play a significant role in national development.
They canceled their trip to
Guatemala
and went to Jamaica instead. They arrived on august 11,1894. Jamaica was just being discovered as a tourist resort. There was electricity, portable piped water, an efficient
telephone
and telegraph system and railway lines to larger towns. Elias was intrigued. Everyone was on the go and he saw the potential in this emerging country.
On
June
13, 1901,
Elias es
father passed away. It
was
then that Elias took in his brothers as partners and in 1905 they opened a larger facility and it was also the day that the younger Abe was born.
Many years later, young Abe had
undergone
many changes and he
and
his brothers had continued success with the House Of
Issa
. Selling clothing goods along with other merchandise. The name of
Issa
was now firmly planted in Jamaica.

It wasn't until March 14, 1943 that Abe convinced his father that they should go into the hotel business. They purchased the Myrtle Bank ;hotel in Kingston. Abe was a shrewd businessman and great things continued to develop. Myrtle
bank
became quite the spot for
influential
. There was also interest from a number of guests after four days in Kingston to continue their vacation at a resort hotel on the north coast. That's when Abe decided to build a resort of his own. And he chose
Ocho
Rios which at the time, was a sleepy fishing village.
It was there that Abe built an 80 room hotel in that quiet cove. On January 15,1949, Tower Isle opened its doors. The rest, as they say, is history.

From humble beginnings,
the
very savvy businessman, Abe
Issa
, went on to gibber and better things.

Throughout his lofty career, Abe handled everything with a personal touch that made everyone feel very welcome. He had a great personality and the gift of gab.

Mr.
Issa
had a vision and he
never
lost sight of that vision. He took chances, on ;faith alone, and made things work out with
extremely
good results.

The natural beauty of the cove in
Ocho
Rios for Tower Isle, along with the
man made
resort itself, have been a winning combination. Combining those two elements
has
resulted in the
cooperation
we know today as the
Issa
Cooperation
. As it was in ;the clothing goods store, personal service was key. Anyone who ever shopped at The House of
Issa
, know that they were getting quality goods for a fare price. The same holds true with the four Couples resorts.


Much of the historical information was taken from the book, "Mr. Jamaica" written by one of Abe's daughters, Suzann. It has been my privilege to have met both Suzanne, her sister Jackie and their two brothers, Joe and Lee
Issa
.

I thank the
Issa
family for their
foresight
and great contribution to the people and island of Jamaica.