The founder of Tortuga Rum Company
has been honoured by the Jamaican Government for his service in the fields of
tourism, hospitality and manufacturing.
On 6 August, Jamaica Independence
Day, Captain Robert Hamaty was named a recipient of Jamaica’s 2010 National
Honour of the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Officer (OD). The recognition
was conferred by Jamaica’s Governor-General, Sir Patrick Allen. The Ceremony of Investiture will be held at
King’s House on Jamaica’s National Heroes Day, 18 October.
“This is a great honour and I am
deeply touched by this recognition,” said Mr. Hamaty.
Born in Jamaica, Mr. Hamaty began
his career in aviation, becoming the youngest airline captain flying for Air
Jamaica at age 24, and joining Cayman Airways in 1978. While working there, he
and his wife Carlene started the Tortuga Rum Company in 1984 to introduce the
first Cayman Islands rums to appeal to the growing tourist and cruise passenger
business. A few years later they opened the first Tortuga duty-free liquor
store and Mrs. Hamaty, nee Jackson, from the district of Savannah, began making
Tortuga Rum Cakes from her generations-old family recipe and aged Tortuga Gold
Today, the company has become the
largest duty-free and retail liquor business in Grand Cayman, with franchise
bakeries in Jamaica, Barbados and the Bahamas. Tortuga Rum Cakes are shipped to
70 countries worldwide, and they are a major gift and souvenir throughout the
Among his many honours, Mr. Hamaty
was named 2001 Caribbean Entrepreneur of the Year in Trinidad and was recognized
in the field of tourism, hospitality and manufacturing for his innovative
business strategy in creating a unique success story. He served as the Jamaican
Honorary Consul for the Cayman Islands for 16 years. The Hamatys were
recognized in 2008 with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Culinary Excellence
at the Jamaica Observer Food Awards in Kingston Jamaica.
Mr. Hamaty served as chairman of
the Cayman Islands Port Improvement and Beautification Committee from 2001 to
2004 and is a founding member of the Association for the Advancement of Cruise
Tourism. He also is a founding member of both the Jamaican and Cayman Airline
He was educated at Jamaica College
(1958-1964) and the Embry Riddle Aeronautical Institute, Daytona Beach, Florida
(1965-1966). He has two grown children, a son Basil, who is a first officer for
Cayman Airways and a daughter, Monique Simmonds, who with her husband Marcus
run the Tortuga Rum Cake Company, handling worldwide distribution, mail order,
food service and online sales from Miami, Florida.