The following statement is issued by Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of The UWI in tribute to the late Gordon “Butch” Stewart.
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. It is born to be brash, brave and brilliant, constituting a cascading commitment to nation building and regional renaissance.
Our Butch was the ‘stewart’ of this spirit and gave to Jamaica, the Caribbean and the world a performance of sheer class with cool runnings—a ‘sandalization’ of awe and amazement. We experienced in his innovative entrepreneurship, the eruptive excellence of a son produced and nurtured by a soil rich in history and fertile for the future.
He integrated and domesticated his Caribbean like no entrepreneurial other, and demanded ownership everywhere the ‘sandals sea’ swept upon our shores. And so the indomitable spirit is called back to source, to rest, to wheel and to come again.
From The University of the West Indies, we wish our brother and honorary alumnus well until next we meet. Condolences with gratitude and respect to his family, friends, and homelands.