Time to say goodbye

Time to say goodbye

'Butch' Stewart gets capital city send-off

Saturday, January 09, 2021

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As he did in life, so he did in death. Gordon “Butch” Stewart yesterday pulled the nation's political and business leaders, diplomats, as well as family, friends and employees of his group of companies to his final public event in Jamaica's capital city before today's private interment of his body at the Rio Chico property in Ocho Rios, St Ann, that he acquired many years ago.

Between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm a host of dignitaries among them Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Opposition Leader Mark Golding, former Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips, and members of the Cabinet filed into Stella Maris Roman Catholic Church in St Andrew, observing COVID-19 safety protocols, as they paid respect to the man who enhanced Jamaica's and the Caribbean's status as a world-class tourist destination.

Stewart, who died Monday night in the United States at the age of 79, was founder and chairman of Sandals Resorts International — the world-renowned, luxury-included, all-inclusive chain that includes Beaches family resorts.

He also founded Appliance Traders Limited, Caribrake Limited, ATL Automotive, the Jamaica Observer, and sister radio stations FYAH 105 FM and The Edge 105 FM.

There were no formal tributes delivered. Mourners either stood by the coffin bearing Stewart's body or sat in the pews paying silent tribute, while the quartet of Kevin Williams, Gavin Hart, Brittany Hart, and Chris McDonald on keyboard and vocals filled the sanctuary with moving songs of praise.

At the close of the viewing, the coffin was taken from the church to the quartet's fitting rendition of Con te partir˛, popularly known in English as Time To Say Goodbye, the Italian song written by Francesco Sartori and Lucio Quarantotto and which was first performed by Andrea Bocelli at the 1995 Sanremo Music Festival.

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