Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Valerie Veira is expressing regret at the passing of Jamaican business mogul, Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart who she describes as an inspiration to entrepreneurs, particularly those within the Micro, Small & Medium-Sized Enterprise (MSME) sector.
“It is with sadness that I offer my most sincere condolences to Mr. Stewart’s family. The world has lost a visionary in business and I am proud to call him Jamaican. Mr. Stewart’s journey from a small entrepreneur trading in air conditioning units to an iconic business mogul who made an indelible mark not only in appliances and electronics but also in the travel and tourism industries, automotive industry as well as print and electronic media. Those of us who travelled on Air Jamaica will recall the immense pride we felt aboard that airline which bore the beloved hummingbird, a national symbol. Among his accomplishments, I believe that brand was closest to our hearts,” said Miss Veira.
Continuing, Miss Veira added that as the country mourns Mr. Stewart’s passing, there is also the opportunity for reflection and celebration. “Entrepreneurs are facing a challenging period amidst a global pandemic. Although not of the same magnitude, we have faced many challenges. Mr. Stewart is a fine example of how an entrepreneur continuously innovates, pivots and grows successfully. Importantly, he demonstrated confidence in risk-taking, hiring the right team and succession planning. I urge our MSMEs to reflect on his life and draw well-needed inspiration at such a time as this. In the words of Andy Warhol, “The idea is not to live forever, but to create something that will.” Indeed, his legacy lives on.”
Miss Veira said as a hotelier, Mr. Stewart played a significant role in the tourism industry by helping to bring tourists to the island through Sandals Resorts International. “The impact of his efforts was significant along the value chain, providing a market for artisans in gift and craft industry. I am heartened that his son, Adam Stewart has taken a keen interest in the sector and answered the call to become Chairman of the Tourism Linkages Council, of which JBDC is a key member. Walk good Mr. Stewart. We are in safe hands,” she said.