Jamaican hotelier Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart is being laid to rest today as tributes for the former government minister and businessman continue to pour in.
The 79-year-old Stewart died on Monday from an undisclosed illness.
“Making a positive impact on the lives of others is a noble legacy and undeniably one which the friends and family [of Stewart] are undoubtedly proud of when thinking of him,” said Tourism Minister and Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell earlier this week.
Stewart has been described as the visionary and driving force behind promoting the Caribbean as a tourism destination. He founded Sandals Beach Resort in 1981.
“His vision for Sandals Resorts – one of the first all-inclusive holiday vacation opportunities in the Caribbean – along with the other endeavours in his vast portfolio created opportunities for the country of Jamaica and the Caribbean to shine in the international market,” said Kirkconnell.
Stewart’s life and legacy has been described as an embodiment of “spirit Jamaica” by the University of the West Indies.
A statement from UWI Vice-Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles reads, “There is an indomitable spirit that resides in the bosom of Jamaica, and when liberated with focus, discipline, and purpose rises and takes the world along with its imagination and energy. Our ‘Butch’, like Bob and Bolt, represents this cultural spirit of the ages.”
Stewart was named World Travel Awards ‘Travel Man of the Millennium’ in 2000.
In 2005, he received Caribbean World Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
He was presented with the Golden Eagle Humanitarian Award in 2011 for his philanthropic contributions in the Caribbean by the Caribbean American Foundation.
Stewart also received several accolades from his native Jamaica for his efforts and contribution to the country’s tourism product.