Caribbean News

“The Most Incredible Man” Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart is gone; profound grief in a Corporate memo

Hon Gordon 'Butch' Stewart, OJ, CD, Hon. LLD - Chairman & Founder of Sandals

#Caribbean – January 5, 2020 — “Unbelievable” is how his son and Deputy Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, Adam Stewart described the passing of his father – the founder of Sandals Resorts International – in a memorandum to general managers and Directors of their resorts and companies around the region.

Butch Stewart with Peter Beckingham, former governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands

It was just last week that Butch Stewart was reaffirming his commitment to these islands with the reopening of Beaches Turks and Caicos on December 21.  In a joint statement Stewart had said:  “We are committed to this long-term agreement and working together for the betterment of the country. I wish to commend those who work tirelessly to put Turks and Caicos on the map; our incredible staff and the dedicated executive team led by the steadfast Adam Stewart. We will now turn our attention to what we do best: introducing the World to the beauty and hospitality of these extraordinary Islands.” 

Those were the Chairman’s final publically expressed words to Turks and Caicos as the largest employer in the private sector and a 25-year investor. 

The Stewart Family Honored With Outstanding Leadership In Social Responsibility Award At 2019 World Travel Awards

Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart died at hospital in Florida informed one news agency out of Jamaica; after 52 years in business on his own, he had amassed the most celebrated all-inclusive resorts in the world.  A Caribbean man, employing some 10,000 people across more than 20 hotel properties in the most sought after islands at the most stunning vistas in the region.

St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and his home country of Jamaica will be especially grieved by the passing of this business titan and Caribbean icon.

TCI Premier bestows TCI Golden pin in honour of Butch Stewart’s long standing confidence in Turks and Caicos; the two are captured in a cordial embrace; 2017

The Hon Stewart had reportedly been ailing a long time and the younger likeness of Butch, Adam Stewart explained: “he chose to keep a very recent health diagnosis private and we respected that wish.”

Already there is an outpouring of shock and sadness at the loss of the resort mogul who is hailed as a marketing genius, who “lived a big life – husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, entrepreneur, statesman, dreamer…” said Adam Stewart in that memo.

“Together, we have all been part of something bigger than ourselves, led by a man who believed in us and who gave us opportunities to learn, grow and the tools to make dreams real.  For him and because of him, we will continue to dream big and deliver on his certainty that true luxury is always best enjoyed by the sea.”

Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart at the opening of the Balmoral Tower of Sandals Royal Bahamian in Nassau, Bahamas in 2012. Photo by The Bahamas Investor

There is also concern among some staffers spanning industries including hospitality, travel, automotive, resort and media and to quell fears, there was this from Adam:  “While I need to be with family right now, I look forward to speaking with you soon and sharing thoughts about the incredible future of this company built by this most incredible man.”

Adam and Butch Stewart share an impromptu moment in 2017 at a family celebration. Photo by the Jamaica Observer

A big dreamer, said his son, who could dream bigger than anyone; he now rests and his many companies and dreams live on with an indelible legacy which will undoubtedly be played and replayed over the coming days and as the region comes to grips with the death and the loss of Gordon Stewart.

The Chairman was 79 years old.

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