NEW YORK, NY–The Caribbean remains a great business investment and still offers "the single best holiday product in the world", says chairman of Sandals Resorts International Gordon "Butch" Stewart, the man who built a tourism empire from the ground-up and remains active in investments across the region.Jamaican-born Stewart's pearls of wisdom to global investors come as he gears up to receive the 2014 Invest Caribbean Now Leadership Award on June 4 at the Harvard Club in New York City.
Invest Caribbean Now, the biggest global summit on the Caribbean outside the region, is honouring Stewart for his investment, commitment and dedication to the Caribbean "and for inspiring us all." Past ICN honourees have included Sir Richard Branson and Royal Caribbean Cruises International.Stewart, former CEO of Air Jamaica and president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, calls it "an honour to be"considered a leader among those serving and succeeding inthe Caribbean",
"My work here, the companies I have built, the jobs we have created and the people we have served are the best example of what is possible in the Caribbean and why we must continue to invest here at home," he added.
Stewart has urged Caribbean governments to consider the lasting effects of the investment they accept on their resources and their constituencies, especially as "it's not simply about land development or acquisition but about investing in people, giving them the resources and opportunity to contribute in real, meaningful ways".
"Human capital will always return the greatest reward and is where thoughtful leaders spend their time and their resources," said the former president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and the country's one time director of tourism.
"As a private investor in the region, our footprint is something we think about every day and we are making conscientious decisions to be good, effective corporate citizens. The fact is job creation leads to immense opportunity in education and no other sector is capable of distributing wealth as rapidly and efficiently as the tourism dollar."