Sandals Chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart Dies

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Jamaican and regional tourism and media giant, Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, has died.

Stewart, 79, passed on Monday evening.

At the time of his passing, he headed a host of business entities, including Sandals International Resorts Limited and ATL Group of Companies, which included the Jamaica Observer Limited, one of the island’s main media entities.

Born on in Kingston, Jamaica in 1941, Stewart grew up along the country’s north coast, where he had a fairly normal upbringing and gradually entered the field of salesmanship, which eventually led to him forming his own business, Appliance Traders Limited, in 1968.

The entity which initially specialised in the importation and sale of air-conditioning units, water coolers and stoves, has since blossomed in the sale of countless other appliances and homecare items.

In 1981, Stewart ventured into the hospitality business with the acquisition of a few resort properties in Montego Bay, St James, one of which was upgraded and later launched as the precursor to what is now Sandals Montego Bay.

Stewart’s hospitality interests later expanded into Sandals Resorts, which was the first company to widely offer the concept of all-inclusive holidays in the Caribbean region.

Within a decade, Stewart established a chain of all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica, stretching from Negril to Ocho Rios along the north coast, before venturing overseas with the all-inclusive concept, including to Antigua in 1991, which was his first resort outside of Jamaica.

Over the years since, he has added more resorts in Jamaica and also in Saint Lucia, The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Stewart also founded the Jamaica Observer newspaper in 1993, and a year later, started the process of acquiring a majority stake in Air Jamaica, the then national carrier.

The airline was sold back to the Jamaican Government in 2004.

A father of seven living children, with one son, Jonathan, having died in an auto collision, Stewart’s children have gone on to become successful in a number of well-known business enterprises nationally and regionally, including Adam Stewart who is Deputy Chairman and CEO of Sandals Resorts and the ATL Group.

‘Butch’ Stewart has been bestowed with a number of the nation’s highest honours over the years, including the Order of Jamaica (OJ) and Commander of the Order of Distinction (OD).

He was also presented with honorary doctor of law degrees from the University of the West Indies (UWI) in 2001, and from the University of Technology, Jamaica in 2009, as also a honorary doctor of business administration degree from Johnson and Wales University in 2011.

In addition, Stewart has been presented with a number of international awards in recognition of his outstanding business and philanthropic work and accomplishments, including his success in the field of hospitality, in which was the indisputable regional giant.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Condolences to the family and friends and Sandals group.

    “It is APPOINTED unto man once to die, but after this the judgement” ~Hebrews 9:27

    “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes…” ~Revelation 21:4

  2. DEATH THE LEVELLER

    The glories of our blood and state
    Are shadows, not substantial tbings;
    There is no armour against Fate;
    Death lays his icy hands on kings:
    Sceptre and Crown
    Must tumble down,
    And in the dust be equal made
    With the poor crooked scythe and spade.

    The garlands wither on your brow;
    Then boast no more your mighty deeds!
    Upon Death’s purple altar now
    See where the victor-victim bleeds.
    Your heads must come
    To the cold tomb:
    Only the actions of the just
    Smell sweet and blossom in their dust.
    by James Shirley

    (Just a gentle reminder that sooner or later we must and will ALL succumb to death and return to mere dust from whence we came. So why all this hate and nastiness for and towards one another?? Is this, our brief sojourn on earth really worth it? Sooner or later we will be confronted with this simple biblical question: For, what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?)

  3. Condolences to a real Caribbean man. Jamaican to the bone.
    I was fortunate to have been in his company at the opening celebration of Sandals in Antigua. Was one of the greatest parties I attended with Denise Plumber from Trinidad performing.
    May his sould rest in eternal peace.

  4. Condolences to the family and his business chain family. He was certainly an inspiration to many of us.

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