'Butch' Stewart was larger than life!

'Butch' Stewart was larger than life!

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

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Dear Editor,

Like most Jamaicans, I was shocked to learn of Gordon “Butch” Stewart's passing.

He was one of those larger-than-life personalities in Jamaica; you just got the feeling he was somewhat immortal.

His contribution to the development of Jamaica is indisputable; from the Sandals resort chain, Appliance Traders Limited, ATL Automotive Group, the Jamaica Observer, and much more.

I recall when Stewart started the Observer, going head to head with the established newspaper The Gleaner. Some thought the paper wouldn't survive for long, and today the Observer is still going strong, almost 28 years later.

The very compact size of the Observer, packed with news, views, and entertainment was a foresight which paid off as, being more practical, newspapers around the globe continue to downsize, transition online, or are forced out of business.

Stewart created some iconic brands, employed over 10,000 in Jamaica and the Caribbean. He was always thinking ahead, expanding, creating, and finding ways to give back through his charities. He was truly a visionary who believed in Jamaica.

Stewart took over the national airline, Air Jamaica, and kept it flying for years. It would've folded much earlier if it weren't for his input. Stewart realised the value in a national airline and the pride that Jamaicans held in “The Love Bird”. He tried to keep it going in the interest of Jamaica.

When the Jamaican currency was being devalued rapidly against the US dollar, causing much hardship on Jamaicans, it was Butch to the rescue who came up with a plan to help stabilise the currency. In the media, and public, Stewart was never out, front and centre; he never sought praise and accolades, and generally avoided the spotlight and centre of attention.

My sincere condolence goes out to the Stewart family at this time and also to close friends and associates as they mourn and come to terms with his passing. I agree with his son Adam's tribute that his father will be missed.

Indeed, his life and legacy will be celebrated forever, and we will always be reminded of his immense contribution to the development of industry and commerce in Jamaica and the Caribbean, especially in tourism.

RIP, Butch Stewart. You lived well; you did well.

P Chin


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