Gordon 'Butch' Stewart, the passing of a giant — one year afterTuesday, January 04, 2022
The seamlessness with which Mr Gordon “Butch” Stewart's sprawling empire has continued to operate, evident most in the agility of his Sandals Resorts to navigate the challenges facing the tourism industry, remains testimony to the true mettle of the man, a year after his passing today.
If the Caribbean had been jittery that his passing would have upended the region, what we have witnessed instead is stark proof of the solid foundation he laid and the enormous business acumen he has bequeathed to his family, led by his son Mr Adam Stewart.
It is hard to believe that it's been a year already since this many-splendoured giant of a man has left us, this nation, and his Appliance Traders family who still mourn his absence or, more aptly, the loss of his larger-than-life presence.
We at the Jamaica Observer will remember him for the courage and conviction that led him to invest in a newspaper industry that is as unyielding financially as much as it is such a fountain of knowledge to a yet developing nation.
But, like a good father, he has left us a vision of a future Jamaica to which this newspaper, on his behalf, can be the gift that keeps on giving to a nation in construction.
The point has already been made that if Jamaica had a certain way of measuring the full value of the contribution of its citizens, we might well declare Mr Gordon “Butch” Stewart the most valuable Jamaican and that, indisputably, puts him among that rare constellation of national heroes.
It obviously can't be on the basis of our sentiment for a founder we cherish that he should be declared a national hero. Indeed, he is already our national hero.
But as our nation looks to mark its 60th anniversary of Independence this year, it would be a lost opportunity if we failed to celebrate appropriately the men and women who have laid the building blocks of this Jamaica, land we love.
In Mr Stewart we have a legacy that is multi-faceted. He was approachable and genuine, with an open and curious mind that never saw or set boundaries. Those who were close to him have proven over and over the unlimited possibility that was the gift of working for Mr Stewart.
The spirit of Butch Stewart will live on, not only in those who loved him, but in the millions of tourists whom he lured to the hitherto unseen islands of the Caribbean and changed the economic standing of this islands forever.
His easy philanthropy was marked by a passion for sharing his innate generosity with all and sundry, drawing deep satisfaction from lifting men and women above their stations. It is still fresh in the minds of we who remember him.
Mr Stewart touched and transformed thousands of lives, both near and far. It is for that, above all else, that we still mourn his loss, but from which we draw inspiration for the strength to live each day in this our beloved Jamaica and indeed the Caribbean which he loved and served with all his heart.