Tributes were paid to former Senator and prominent businessman, Alexander Barclay Ewart, who died on February 1, by Members of the Senate on February 10.
Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, said Mr. Ewart was one of Jamaica’s leading industrialists, who had a genuine desire to serve his people and country.
“He was a modest person, very calm and very cool. I never saw him riled. He was easy to get along with, he was loyal and supportive,” he recalled.
Mr. Golding noted that the late Senator had a major input in Jamaica’s industrial policy of the late 1970s and indeed helped to write the policy documents that became the industrial policy.
“He was a great believer in manufacturing, particularly value-added manufacturing,” he recalled.
Mr. Golding said Mr. Ewart believed that Jamaica’s economic development necessitated manufacturing to play a central role.
The businessman, he said, was also very passionate about energy. “He was a strong advocate for coal as a power source for Jamaica. He couldn’t understand why others couldn’t see the sense in this. He was also very interested in bio-fuels,” he said.
The Justice Minister said Mr. Ewart was not just an industrialist and a nationalist, but also an outstanding sportsman, pointing out that his talent emerged early in his days at Jamaica College.
“In the 1954 Boys’ Champs, Ewart was the gold medal winner in three sprints, the 100 yards, the 220 and the 440 and was also on the winning sprint relay team and that I believe is a feat that no one has actually ever exceeded,” he noted.
Mr. Ewart received an athletic scholarship from the University of Notre Dame in the United States, where he pursued a degree in chemical engineering and business administration.
Opposition Senator, Dr. Christopher Tufton, said Mr. Ewart was a “patriot, a true Jamaican.”
“He believed in creating things by the application of discipline and by the articulation of a vision and the follow through of that vision. He was not just a talker, but he was prepared to put his money and his efforts toward what he spoke of and that I think, has manifested itself into so many tangible accomplishments,” he said.
Dr. Tufton pointed out that Mr. Ewart played an integral role in the country’s business sector and served on the Board of several organisations.
Mr. Ewart was passionately dedicated to Jamaica’s development and made an indelible contribution to manufacturing and industry.
The late businessman was also considered a pioneer in the local heavy metal industry and was a lifemember of the Jamaica Union of Scientists and Technicians.
Mr. Ewart was responsible for growing the Alkali Group of Companies into one of Jamaica’s leading chemical manufacturing groups, receiving several export awards and distinctions.
The group of companies also include Leder Mode Ltd., Tanners Ltd, Industrial Chemical Companies Ltd, and Power and Tractors Ltd.
A Thanksgiving service for the life of the late Senator and businessman was held at the University of the West Indies Chapel, Mona on February 8. He is survived by widow Deirdre and children Jonni, Simon, Jeanine and Elizabeth. His daughter Laura passed away in 2005.
By Athalia Reynolds, JIS Reporter