The following is the full text of the statement from Prime Minister Allen Chastenet:
‘Butch’ Stewart was never an ordinary man. He dreamed big, he thought big, he acted big. He was a visionary, a pioneer and a trailblazer. His son Adam described him as a ‘superhero’ and I concur because what he did for this region as a whole and for the islands in which he invested was transformative.
As a young Director of Tourism in the nineties, I convinced him to take a chance on Saint Lucia and he did. Three hotels and 2,000 jobs later, the legacy and impact of Sandals is indisputable. No one individual has ever left such an indelible footprint on the Caribbean region or been more responsible for the development of the ‘Caribbean’ brand.
Butch Stewart was a marketing and branding genius, creating the first world-class Caribbean brand with his Sandals product. His quest for bigger and better led to the unprecedented growth of his hotel chain and global recognition of the Sandals brand. I have lost a former boss from my airline days, a mentor and more importantly, a close friend but the Caribbean has lost an irreplaceable icon.
Thousands of persons in this region have jobs and careers because of Butch Stewart, the world knows more about the Caribbean and Saint Lucia because of Butch Stewart, our tourism product is surviving in spite of Covid in large measure because of Butch Stewart and the Caribbean tourism industry is as strong as it is today because of Butch Stewart.
Many working directly and indirectly in tourism may not attribute their careers to him, but they most certainly have benefited from all that he did to develop the industry. In spite of all his successes and recognition on the global stage, he remained a Jamaican boy at heart, a family man, a lover of all things Caribbean and a tireless advocate for Caribbean people.
I am forever grateful for the time we had together and I will forever cherish all that I learnt from him.
On behalf of the Government and People of Saint Lucia and my own family, I extend heartfelt condolences to the Stewart family and the extended Sandals family. May he forever rest in peace.
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