On October 18, Jamaica’s National
Heroes Day, Captain Robert Hamaty, founder and managing director of the Tortuga
Rum Company, received the 2010 National Honour of the Order of Distinction in
the Rank of Officer. His Excellency the Governor-General of Jamaica, Sir
Patrick Allen presented Captain Hamaty with this medal at the Ceremony of Investiture
held at King’s House in Kingston.
Cayman Islands dignitaries Housing
Minister Mike Adam and Attorney General Samuel Bulgin were recognized at the
ceremony that was attended by the entire Jamaican government as well as friends
and family of the honourees.
Mr. Hamaty, who was born in
Jamaica, was recognized for his service in the fields of tourism & hospitality,
manufacturing and for building a global brand.
“It is a tremendous honour to be
recognized by the Jamaican government for the success of our Tortuga brand,”
said Mr. Hamaty, who began his career in aviation. He was the youngest airline
captain flying for Air Jamaica at 24.
“I want to thank our 125 employees
in Grand Cayman and share this recognition with our entire team, friends and
family whose unwavering support has built our company over the past 26 years.”
Moving to Grand Cayman in 1978, Mr.
Hamaty was a captain with Cayman Airways when he and his wife, Carlene, an
in-flight supervisor, started the Tortuga Rum Company. In 1984, they introduced
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 Carlene began making Tortuga Rum Cakes from her generations
old family recipe and aged Tortuga Gold Rum.
Today, the company is an
internationally recognized brand with its rums known throughout the Caribbean
and authentic Tortuga Rum Cakes shipped to 70 countries worldwide.
The company is the largest duty
free and retail liquor business in Grand Cayman, with franchise bakeries in
Jamaica, Barbados and the Bahamas. Tortuga Rum Cakes are the #1 export of the
Cayman Islands, sold on more than 100 cruise ships and a major gift and
souvenir throughout the Caribbean.
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. He and his wife
Carlene were recognized in 2008 with the “Lifetime Achievement Award for
Culinary Excellence” at the Jamaica Observer Food Awards in Kingston Jamaica.
Mr. Hamaty has 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 Pilots Association. He currently serves on the Cayman Islands Tourism