Nadia Simmonds - 29/06/2020
My Guardian Angel
Written by Nadia Simmonds
When you can tell the truth but know the difference from being honest,
When you can be free-spoken but still keep your promise
When you can be independent but still take advice from others
When you can laugh, cry and sing with your sisters and brothers
When the earth quakes, but all is still
When the waters roar but remain tranquil
When the morning silence is broken with laughter
When you can take advantage of any disaster
When you can see into someone’s heart and reveal their intentions
When you can walk your daughter down the aisle without hearing any objections
When life gives you lemons and you can turn it into a rum cake
When you can work all day and not even take a coffee break
When you can be the youngest pilot to fly across the Atlantic
When you can remain calm whilst all else is frantic
When you can leave Jamaica in the face of adversity
When you can sacrifice it all just to let your children attend university
When you can care for and raise two beautiful children
When you show love and compassion to any casual civilian
When you can own a large company but still know everyone by name
When you can walk and talk with others but still treat everyone the same
When you can inspire your son to fly for Cayman Airways
When you can move to Cayman and create brighter days
When you can love your wife with both your hearts
When you can build a legacy that never departs
I will never forget the song by Celine Dion
For you, my heart will forever go on
I say two hearts are better than one
I thank the donor for giving you an extra run
Rest in peace my guardian angel
Your heart still beats within us all
Sister Sonia Thorn -
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air. Up, up the long delirious, burning blue, I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace Where never lark, or even eagle flew - And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod The high unsurpassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand and touched the face of God. Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee
Jonathan Dioscoro - 19/06/2020
Dear Ma’am Carlene, Ms. Monique and Neil,
It was a sad news to learned that we will never see Mr. Robert Hamaty again. We were privileged to meet him, worked with him and to the family.
I remember we just met him and chat along with during the lockdown at the New Distillery in West Bay when he passed by to visit the place while we were having our snack outside the store. We always bring our little daughter there to enjoy the sea side.
We will missed him.
From all of us, ITC and Kozaily Designs Team would like to extend our condolences.
Dear Marcus and Monique,
I was saddened to hear of the passing of your loved one and wanted to reach out to pass along my condolences to you and your family.
Although you will undoubtedly share a tear, I am hopeful that reflecting on the many fond memories and happy times in Robbie's presence, will help ease the pain and bring you some joy and laughter.
I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers.
May Robbie rest in peace.
Susan Fox - 22/06/2020
Monique, I was so shocked to hear of your Dad's passing.
My thoughts and prayers are with you & the family.
Rev. Robert McLean Thompson - 23/06/2020
Reflections on Captain Robert Hamaty, OD
I met Robert in 1961. When I arrived at Jamaica College as a boarder in Hardie House, he was already there as my senior by one year. This means he had the right to initiate me with the full force of the hockey stick on my exposed toes while I slept. Never mind the fact that we were both from Westmoreland, and our parents knew each other well, nothing could save me from the harsh rituals of boarding school initiation. Thank God we grew up and lived to value and appreciate each other. Robbie was a wonderful human being who was good to be with as he was gracious to a flaw.
Robbie was a true celebrant of life. He loved to host a party, where there was plenty of food and plenty to drink. However, for those who were his guests, that wasn’t what made the party special. For me, what really mattered was the way he made you feel loved, accepted and cared for. He had that special gift of making a stranger feel like an honoured guest. That’s what made him such a perfect host – the kind of person who gets out of the way, not by spending all the time at the grill or at the bar, but who, in the language of the gospel, dies to one’s self for the sake and well-being of the other. This is what made Robbie such a remarkable friend, because his relationships were never about his own self-promotion, but about the well-being of others.
Many of us wish for a good death where we can be surrounded by family and friends – but that may not be possible. I believe, however, that we are blessed by a good death only when in our living we bring life-bearing possibilities to others by letting go, in order to make way for them to flourish. That’s not an easy thing to do. But, it is possible; and some persons do, in fact, succeed in doing just that. I believe Robbie did, and that’s why he was not only the perfect host, but a true celebrant of life.
On behalf of my family I extend our sincere condolence to his widow, Carlene; children, Monique and Basil; and his brother, Freddy. Rest eternal grant to Robert, O Lord and let light shine upon him.
Rt. Rev. Robert Thompson
Bishop of Kingston
Rhona Shorter - 24/06/2020
I started a journey with a great company and family two years ago, and I have absolutely no regrets. I walked into the receptionist area one day, and there was Mr. Hamaty sitting. He called out my name "Rhona , Thank You for such hard work, never feel that it goes unnoticed. Thank You ' with his luminous smile. I felt really special as I gave my smiles with a thank you.
Sir, with each passing day, I will remember you in a very special way, knowing you have empowered us with knowledge. You have helped us to move ahead with unending motivation.
Sir, from your milestone and targets, to motivation and progress, from failures and setbacks, you moved ahead with success.
Sir, you stood with us through all these obstacles, your leadership is what has given us wings.
Your great leadership was not defined by the presence of weakness, but rather by the of depth of profound strength.
Sir, you have done well.
We will indeed miss your presence in our stores as you always popped in to see how we were doing.
On the 13th June, The Lord picked a special rose from his garden, and it happened that your name was on it.
May your soul rest in peace and perpetual light shine on you.
David C Black - 24/06/2020
In the midst of all that has gone so terribly wrong this year, I sadly learned that my good friend Capt. Robert Michael Hamaty had ‘flown west’, as we pilots say. The world has lost a fine, good-natured man indeed, and I will never forget him or his wonderful sense of humor.
Some years back I wrote Robby an email and I saved his response which I’m sharing below. His comment about my letter to the Queen was an inside joke that all of the early CAL pilots in the Seventies understood. Truly, those were good days and it was always my pleasure and privilege to fly with Robby. Fun to fly with, and the consummate professional… the kind of pilot we all aspire to be!
David C Black
Hi D, thanks for your kind email. Time has flown. Feb. 26th, 2002 will be 6 years that I have been living with someone else's heart. Thanks to the Great Architect of the world and technology along with these genius Doctors.
I have been keeping very good health and flew a twin-engine Piper with my one son Basil. He has really found what he wants and is enjoying it. He is off to Jamaica to take air law and that ridiculous Performance ‘A’ exam. I guess your letter to the Queen asking her to waive it did not Help!
Marcus Simmonds is an accountant with a commercial pilots license another flyer. He is the CFO at Tortuga Imports Inc and is a great help to Monique and Tortuga in Cayman. A happy new year to you and family
Popeye and Olive - 27/06/2020
I write this with great sadness over the loss of my lifelong friend Robbie. To me he was larger than life, succeeding in everything he did.
At school, together at JC, his wisdom and wit was only superseded by his popularity. He called me “PIP” at school and somehow that turned into “Popeye”, when I attempted to start smoking a pipe.
Flying with him at JAS, Air Jamaica, Dominicana de Aviacion and finally Cayman Airways can only be described as exhilarating. Happily etched in my memories forever. He was an extraordinary pilot.
He fought an exceptional battle overcoming the odds of a ten year prognosis after a heart transplant and creating, with his ever supportive wife Carlene, a worldwide mega business.
To have done this while raising two highly successful children who adore him is no mean feat.
Thank you for showing that real success comes with courage, strength, humility and love, attributes that will ensure your peaceful respite in the life hereafter.
Angie and I will miss you.
Happy trails my friend, ‘till we meet again…….
Popeye & Olive
Suzy Soto - 28/06/2020
Tribute to Captain Robbie Hamaty from Suzy Soto.
Captain Robbie sent me a poem last year and it so described how we both felt, I was sure he wrote it, but it was written in the early 1900’s. It was so real, he had to be the guest speaker at the Cayman Heart Fund Heroes Luncheon, of which he was our first Heart Hero. He was a great supporter and would do anything for us, which was his last act for us. At the Luncheon in Feb. this year, he got up bravely and read this poem, It started with:
“I counted my years and realized that I have,
Less time to live by, than I have lived so far.
My Soul has a Hat., so thank you Robbie for reading the poem, despite you were not feeling well. Bless you for caring so much.
This lovely poem was written by Mario de Andrade (San Paolo 1893-1945) Poet, novelist, essayist and musicologist. He was one of the founders of Brazilian modernism.
*MY SOUL HAS A HAT*
I counted my years
and realized that I have
Less time to live by,
Then I have lived so far.
I feel like a child who won a pack of candies: at first he ate them with pleasure,
But when he realized that there was little left, he began to taste them intensely.
I have no time for endless meetings where the statutes, rules, procedures & internal regulations are discussed, knowing that nothing will be done.
I no longer have the patience
To stand absurd people who,
despite their chronological age,
have not grown up.
My time is too short:
I want the essence,
my spirit is in a hurry.
I do not have much candy
In the package anymore.
I want to live next to humans,
very realistic people who know
How to laugh at their mistakes,
Who are not inflated by their own triumphs
and who take responsibility for their actions.
In this way, human dignity is defended
and we live in truth and honesty.
It is the essentials that make life useful.
I want to surround myself with people
who know how to touch the hearts of those whom hard strokes of life
have learned to grow, with sweet touches of the soul.
Yes, I'm in a hurry.
I'm in a hurry to live with the intensity that only maturity can give.
I do not intend to waste any of the remaining desserts.
I am sure they will be exquisite,
much more than those eaten so far.
My goal is to reach the end satisfied
and at peace with my loved ones and my conscience.
We have two lives
and the second begins when you realize you only have one.
Robbie, you would be pleased to know:
Your magnificent brief reentry from the heavens above,
With son, Capt. Basil gently landing with all of his love,
Carlene riding along to bring you safely home,
The plane passing thru the sprayed water dome.
You were welcomed by good “humans",
The ones who live with truth and honesty.
The ones in the poem with a loving soul.
Those who also live with your life’s intensity.
You were surrounded with those people,
who did not waste their time, to meet
this Captain who’s amazing life did shine.
By sharing your journey you have touched many lives,
You have made the difference you came to do.
So my heart goes out in “glowing remembrance of you”
“Soar on to your heavenly home", we just had to say Farewell.
Brad and Judy McInnes - 30/06/2020
A prayer to Robbie's family.
Brad and Judy
I pray you’ll be our eyes,
And watch us where we go
And help us to be wise,
In times when we don’t know
Let this be our prayer,
When we lose our way
Lead us to a place,
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe
I pray we’ll find your light
And hold it in our hearts
When stars go out each night
Let this be our prayer
When shadows fill our day
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we'll be safe
We ask that life be kind
And watch us from above
We hope each soul will find
Another soul to love
Let this be our prayer
Just like every child
Need to find a place,
Give us faith so we’ll be safe
Popeye - 29/06/2020
A Letter to Robbie
It didn’t seem like that long ago when we were at JC, Khaki pants and shirts and both of us boarders with a lot of spare time on our hands. I believe you took better advantage of the spare time by utilizing that imagination of yours creating a lot of experiences I could only vicariously participate. Later in life you kept reminding me of the many times I gave you detention and the lines you had to write. Persistent perversive behavior provokes………
Then came flight school…only you could get into flight school at so young an age….so determined you were to fly. Flying was your first love a profession that you excelled at. That led to our first job at JAS, and the bachelor days of sharing a town house together. Such wonderful memories…all better left unsaid.
Air Caribbean Transport was your next venture before Air Jamaica grabbed you for their first training class.
Even though I was not with you at the beginning of Air Jamaica your professionalism and excellence as a pilot and Captain was well known to all. When I was finally hired by Air Jamaica it was your turn to give me orders as I flew as your first officer. Then you gave me, what I like to call a name of endearment, “Popeye”.
I know the birth of your two children Monique and Basil were the highlights of your life as I could see the pride in you when you spoke of them.
Jamaica Air Freighters with Tony, you and I brought out the entrepreneur in you and probably gave you the thirst for business.
Santo Domingo called when “Heavy Manners” struck Jamaica and David, Joe, Cool man Luke, you and I decided to take a chance on Dominicana de Aviacion. That stint didn’t last too long for you and the others, as you all were wise enough to see we had jumped from the frying pan into the fire. Experiences I’m sure David and Joe will share.
Then it was Churchill that brought us all together again in Cayman where you remained and flourished with a new business with your lovely Carlene.
I will always be close to your family, another job you excelled at.
I will miss you, my friend, and so will my Angie who remembers with affection all the support you gave her.
‘Till we meet again..
Gordon“Butch” Stewart - 01/07/2020
Article done by the Jamaica Observer.
Hamaty a friend to all, enemy to none, says 'Butch' Stewart
GORDON “Butch” Stewart has described the late Captain Robert “Robbie” Hamaty, master pilot and founder of Tortuga Rum Company, as a supremely decent human being who was a friend to all and enemy to none.
Stewart, the Caribbean's leading hotelier and founder of Sandals Resorts International, paid tribute in a statement to his long-standing friend who died on June 13, 2020 at Baptist Hospital in Miami, Florida, with wife Carlene at his side. Following is the full text of Stewart's tribute:
“I have been deeply saddened by the passing of Captain “Robbie” Hamaty, a truly generous and kind-hearted man who has been a friend to all and enemy to none. He will be sorely missed by all whose lives he has touched with his wonderful ways.
In my long association with Robbie, I have found him nothing less than a supremely decent human being who believed that the more he helped others the more his own life was enriched. He will always be remembered for his tremendous impact on so many people in Jamaica where he was born, and the Cayman Islands which became his adopted home.
Captain Hamaty will also be remembered for his singular accomplishments in the airline industry as a master pilot, and in business, especially for his establishment, with his wife Carlene, of the Tortuga [Caribbean] Rum Cake, one of the Caribbean's most recognisable brands.
Born in Jamaica in 1948, Robbie developed an unyielding passion for flying as a young man. At age 24 he joined Air Jamaica where his career took off, becoming one of the airline's first 12 commissioned pilots, its youngest DC-9 captain and, only a year later, its youngest captain, flying a DC-8 on the transatlantic route from Kingston to London.
In 1978 Robbie migrated to Cayman where he joined Cayman Airways and climbed up the ranks to the position of chief pilot. As he did in Jamaica, he founded the local pilots' association. When ill health forced him to end his flying career, he turned his attention to business.
He founded the Tortuga Rum Company for which Jamaica's Wray & Nephew developed a unique blend of rum. It became an iconic feature of Cayman tourism and produced the country's largest export, Tortuga Rum Cake, using a traditional recipe from his wife's family.
His other notable accomplishments included founding director of the National Building Society of the Cayman Islands, and his long tenure as honorary Jamaican consul to the Cayman Islands.
As a philanthropist Robbie was an ardent supporter of the Cayman Heart Fund, the Cayman Cancer Institute and Jackson Memorial's Miami Transplant Institute.
In 2001 Robbie was named Caribbean Entrepreneur of the Year for his roles in hospitality, manufacturing and innovative business strategy. He and his wife were recognised in 2008 with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Culinary Excellence at the Jamaica Observer Food Awards.
In 2010 the Jamaican Government awarded him the Order of Distinction (Officer Class) for outstanding service to his country.
My heartfelt condolence go out to his wonderful wife and business partner, Carlene, their family and many friends and associates.”
Hamaty is survived by his wife Carlene; daughter Monique, her husband Marcus Simmonds and their children Jayda, Nadia and Brandon; his son Basil and wife Melissa and their children Lismely, Megan and Robert Michael II; his sister Sonia; brother Frederick; sister-in-law Merle; sister Helene and brother-in-law Jack; brother Maskey and sister-in-law Gem; aunt Yolanda; nieces and nephews; cousins; and many loving friends.
Good evening Monique my love,
My heart hurts for you and Basil. Losing your dad is one of the lowest feeling you will ever feel at this time. A feeling that will stay with you forever, yet the wonderful memories will warm your heart. Stay strong, and remember that I am here for you. I love you always. Please give Basil my condolence and I have you all in my prayers
Bill Panoff - 01/07/2020
It is rare occasion that one encounters a man such as Robbie. A tremendous success story that retained humility, fostering a genuine personality that touched so many. I consider myself fortunate to have enjoyed his friendship for over 35 years, a relationship in an industry we both grew into together. It is only fitting that fond memories of this compassionate gentleman will be rekindled each time I view his trademark Tortuga products in travel destinations around the globe.
Tribute from your friend Bill Panoff
Jamil Bardowell - 05/07/2020
I haven’t seen Uncle Robbie in years, but that doesn’t change the fact that I will miss him dearly!!
Uncle Robbie was an amazing man and great father to Monique and Basil!
He was my dad’s nephew, and we were always close to the family. I have so many fond memories of him. Uncle Robbie got all the good traits of my Dad and Uncle Munair. Every time I looked at photos, he always reminded me of my dad and uncle!!
I was planning to come see him once the covid-19 lockdowns ended, and I am so sad that I did not get to see him one last time. All the great memories of him will live on in my memories.
Uncle Robbie, I love you and will miss you greatly!!!
I’m sure my dad is so happy to be with you in Heaven!!!
I love you!!!
Saleem Hamaty - 09/07/2020
Robbie, you made us laugh. There was something about your laugh and you wanting to make us all as happy as you were. Family meant the world to you. Above all, you were humble and never flaunted your successes. Happy to have been a part of your family Cherishing our last chats with you.
Aunt Mimi - 11/07/2020
Carlene, Monique ,Basil, and the rest of the family please accept my deepest condolences on the loss of Roby. I met him when he was 10 or 12 years old. He was sweet, always caring and never changed. I remember when he went to Miami to become a pilot and he made his family so proud. He was the youngest pilot at that time. He got married to Jackie and had two beautiful children Monique and Basil who I adore! He had a great life and loved Carlene so much! Several years ago he lost his Dad and his mom. We are heart broken by his passing. I want to send love to Carlene, Monique, Basil, his Brother and sisters Freddie, Sonia and Helen. God be with you all!
I love you Robbie and I know you are happy in heaven where you will have no more pain. There is nothing I can say but at least I can share in your sadness.
Love and deepest Sympathy to all the family, and I’m praying for you everyday!
Love you Aunt Mimi
Andy Campbell - 13/07/2020
A Tribute to a Dear Friend
Robert Michael Hamaty – Romeo Mike Hotel 1303
Captain Robert Hamaty, colleague, Pilot, Aviator, Commander, Entrepreneur, Pioneer, Mr. H, “Robbie”, husband, father, grandfather, brother, Boss and most of all “My Friend”
Robbie was born 12 February 1948 in Kingston to parents Munair & Tatianna Hamaty. The family resided in Savanah-La-Mar in Western Jamaica, not too far from the Cayman Islands.
Robbie attended Jamaica College 1958 – 1963 and always reminded us that he was a very good cross-country athlete. In the late 1960s he enrolled at the Embry Riddle Aeronautical Institute in Daytona Beach, Florida where he met lifelong friends Tony Myers, Churchill Bodden and Anthony Wood of BeeWee. He obtained his FAA Commercial Pilots License with Instrument and Multi-Engine ratings, he then returned to Jamaica and flew for Jamaica Air Taxi founded by Ruddy Mantell, he later joined Jamaica Air Service as a First Officer on the De Havallan Heron aircraft. Robbie later joined ACT – Air Caribbean Transport as a First Officer on the DC-7C aircraft, a not so reliable aircraft at the time as Robbie said he flew around the Caribbean & Central America more on three (3) engines that he did on four (4) engines.
Robbie joined Air Jamaica on January 1, 1970 as an F/O on the stretch DC-8-61 series aircraft which at the time was the largest airliner in service as the B747 jumbo did not go into service until 1972.
I first met Robbie in Montreal, Canada in January 1970, while attending Ground School with Air Canada both of us being part of the “Dirty Dozen” the nickname given to the first twelve (12) Jamaican Pilots hired by Air Jamaica.
He was promoted to Captain on the DC 9-32 aircraft in 1972 and later transitioned to Captain DC-8 then Captain/Instructor on the B727. In 1978 during the Manley days Robbie left Air Jamaica and joined Dominicana Airlines in the Dominican Republic.
In 1979 he joined Cayman Airways as Captain on the BAC 111, he later held the position of “Chief-Pilot” Cayman Airways.
From that day in January 1970 and until now Robbie has been a dear friend & confidant for the last 50 years.
We flew together, we fished together, we drank together, we laughed together and we even cried together.
Robbie married Jackie Cawston in 1970 and that marriage produced two beautiful & wonderful children, Monique (Mosquito) & Basil (Boo).
Robbie was a highly skilled professional Pilot who enjoyed, and really loved to fly and even after he lost his Pilot licence he never ever really stopped flying as he maintained a very close relationship with aviation through his son Captain Basil, and his fellow aviators….. we all know how proud he was of his Cayman Airways.
When Robbie joined Cayman Airways in 1979 on one of his early flights, he encountered none other than one Ms. Carlene Jackson at the time an In-Flight Supervisor for Cayman Airways and this is when the real history began, as he was “Smitten” from the very first sight, and so he nurtured this relationship which led to him marrying Carlene on the 28th May 1988 and I must pause here for Carlene to take a bow…… as Robbie has said many many many times “Marrying Carlene was the best thing that has ever happened to him”.
Robbie was a very accomplished and experienced fisherman, having learnt the art while fishing with fishermen in their canoes from White House and Bluefields in Westmoreland. When his friend Tony Myers lost his licence due to medical reasons, Tony much to Lorna’s dismay, acquired a 31ft Bertram “Bali Hai” which he renamed “Bye Pass” and this was the beginning of our fishing journey, as soon after Robbie acquired a sport fisherman canoe, “Keycard”.
Robbie’s good friend John Marzouca joined the group and with him came m/v “Screaming Eagle” a 54 foot Bertram and not to be outdone Tony then upgraded Bye Pass to a 54ft Hatteras - needless to say this led to many years of enjoyable competitive sport fishing and I don’t think we ever missed a Port Antonio Marlin Tournament over the years, as a matter of fact the Port Antonio Marlin Tournament was suspended for a while and it was Tony & Robbie et al who decided to revive the Port Antonio Int’l Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament.
Robbie as stated before was an accomplished fisherman and it was he who introduced me to deep sea fishing. We entered a Cayman Marlin Tournament on the Screaming Eagle with Bye Pass and on opening morning I said to Robbie “Hey Bob, I have never caught a fish on a rod and reel”, Robbie’s reply was “Chops No Problem, I am going to hook you up on a monster” – well 3 hours later I caught my first Blue Marlin a 354lbs monster – *Now how can this man not be my Bestfriend.
Later on in the year we entered a Marlin Tournament in Ocho Rios which Bye Pass won having landed a 630lbs Blue Marlin (maybe still a record), Bobby Miller was the angler on the Bye Pass, at the same time Robbie, Guy Harvey, John and myself fishing on the Screaming Eagle actually caught five (5) Blue Marlin including a double header, nonetheless we came second.
Robbie the Entrepreneur/Pioneer/Conceptualizer
…. Bet you did not know that Robbie along with Tony Myers and Tony Phillips owned an Airline, JAF (Jamaica Air Freighters) a cargo airline – which they eventually sold.
Then his next venture was “JAMIN” a jerk centre in Georgetown, however that venture did not do too well, not to be daunted Robbie immediately set out on his flight plan and concept for “Tortuga Rum Company” and oh what a journey it has been.
I remember him launching his idea and during the initial stages, he designed his Tortuga labels with the help of a very well established brand in Canada – then he had to get his blend right – and you may not know Robbie was not a rum drinker, so that’s where I came in. One day Robbie said “Chops you have to come with me to select the right blend and so off we went to a major distiller in Kingston to select the Tortuga blend. However, we had to make a second trip to select the blend simply because we were in no state to remember which blend we had chosen the previous day.
Robbie worked 24/7 at establishing and promoting his Tortuga brand and was relentless in his pursuit of excellence and demonstrated that he was a self-made marketing genius and was never afraid to go toe-to-toe with the older and larger liquor companies.
We all know of the ambience in each of his stores and his innovative and constant upgrade of his products, bottle designs and his Stills etc. as a tourist/customer attraction.
This man had great qualities as he was hardworking, very honest, decent, principled and fair-minded but one who would staunchly and vigourously stand up for his rights when he needed to. Robbie has touched many many lives of pilots, business associates, the well-to-do and the common man. He was a kind gentle soul who always only did what was right and whose family meant so much to him. He was so proud of and marketed Tortuga Rum Company as a Family Owned and Operated Business. He also cherished his relationship with his staff at Tortuga and treated them as if they were his own family.
Robbie was predeceased by his brother Norman and his parents Munair and Tatianna, he often spoke about Norman and although I never met Norman I certainly know a lot about him…. all because of Robbie.
Robbie received the Order of Distinction (OD) as the first Jamaican counsel in the Cayman Islands and for improving trade between Cayman and Jamaica. He’s a pass director of JN Cayman and was a founding member of JALPA which had its very first meeting at his house in Norbrook Mews, Jamaica in 1971.
On behalf of the Air Jamaica/JALPA family, the Cayman Airways/CALPA family and his Tortuga family we extend our gratitude for his service, wisdom, dedication, commitment, entrepreneurship, leadership and friendship.
Our condolences to his devoted wife Carlene, children Monique and Basil, Sisters Sonia and Helen, Brother Frederick, his grandkids, other relatives and friends, we thank you for sharing Robbie with us.
A very special Thank You to Carlene for caring and looking after Robbie and keeping him healthy all these years, may God continue to bless you.
Robbie will be sadly missed and for sure he will always be remembered.
May his Soul Rest in Peace and May the Eternal Light Shine upon him.
WALK, FISH & FLY WELL MY FRIEND, “Tightlines”
“Nuff Love & Respect” – Chops
A few anecdotes from Robbie:
Aviation is hours of boredom punctuated by a few moments of sheer Terror.
Right string wrong YoYo.
“Marrying Carlene is the Best thing that ever happened to me”.
He was proud that Tortuga was a “Family owned and operated business”.
You just can’t go around boring holes in the sky.
Pilot takes off.
Your crew scheduler carries her 45’s on her chest…. my crew scheduler in Dominiciana carries his 45’s on his hips
Since he arrived in Cayman in 1979, the Cayman Islands has never been the same and his legacy will live on.
Robbie had two (2) birthdays one for flying and the 12th February 1948 for his passport.
Captain Basil is a third generation pilot.
Tony Crescente - 15/07/2020
Tribute to ROBBIE from Tony Crescente
Dear Carlene Monique Basil and all your families
Please accept my deepest regrets on the loss of you wonderful husband and father.
My dear friend
I cannot believe you flew away on such short notice.
You have left a huge hole and space in my heart but forever I will carry on your memory with you in my heart.
I have been privileged to be your friend of so many years for that I am forever grateful to know that you accepted my in your life.
You touched and changed my life with your help guidance and kindness
I am going to miss the after work stops at Casanova to share a glass of vino and chat. You always talked about all your ideas, all your stories and of course all the funny jokes and for sure you had plenty of them.
When you visited the restaurant you called me the Italian Maestro but my friend you were the real Maestro of life for the way you loved your work your family and friends.
You always found time for everyone no matter who it was or when it was. Everyone one was treated always with such respect.
A true gentleman!
Your word was your bond and you always lived by that!
You were a humble man but your presence and charisma could have lighted this earth.
Your vision and willing of new ideas had no limit
I have lost a friend but in reality our country has lost a true visionary and ambassador and a true kind human being.
I’m sure by now Saint Peter has the shelves stocked with all the different cakes in all the shops in heaven. Of course THE TORTUGA RUM.........will be right there.
From the bottom of all the hearts of the Crescente family with thank for your love guidance and affection
Until we meet again Rest In Peace
CIAO GRAZIE CAPITANO.
Ron Hamaty - 16/07/2020
A tribute to my cousin, Robbie.
Robbie - Oh what great times we had growing up, from kids to grandparents! Robbie - I only remember the good times - the convertible '56 Chevrolet and cruising Collins Ave on South Beach in the early 60's, the trips to see the Daytona 500, wild excursions to Jamaica, getting in the Cessna 172 with you at Montego Bay Airport, testing your skill with the "power-on stalls," landings at Up Park Camp between the goal posts, the fishing trip in your King Canoe at 5:00 am after partying until 2:00 am and begging you to let me off at the sandbar at low tide as I was sea sick (you never did and we joked about that a couple of months ago), the good times when you lived with us while attending Embry Riddle in Miami and, of course, the never-ending jokes we've enjoyed over the many Rum & Cokes!
Robbie - may God Bless You. You will certainly be missed but NEVER ever forgotten! RIP
Anthony Wood - 19/06/2020
Good Day All,
My name is Anthony Wood, known to Robbie as Mr. Woodie and I am truly honored to be given the opportunity to say a few words to and about my little brother.
My introduction to Robbie was in the mid sixties at our Flying School, Embry Riddle Aeronautical Institute in Daytona Beach, Florida. He arrived reeking of alcohol but as it turned out, he wasn’t drinking at all. A bottle of rum had broken in his suitcase and it was on this first day that I learnt to cuss in Jamaican!
From that meeting, little brother, the world became our oyster. We were both young and our adventure had begun. We enjoyed each other’s company, appreciated all the little things that we shared and learnt so much along the way. We were always there for each other and he made the year and a half at flying school a wonderful experience.
You came in one day and said “ Mr Woodie, we now have transport. WE bought a motorcycle for $25, come and see it!” It was a rusty, broken, slim scooter. “WE will paint it a bright canary yellow so they can see us coming.” Actually, the trail of smoke gave us away and “The Express” was born. No papers, no license, no insurance, but no problem!
When we finished school and went back to our homes in Jamaica and Trinidad, our paths went in different directions but not our friendship. The last thing we chatted about a couple weeks ago was our families and our grands. We said that they are what we live for. Both of our sons are successful pilots and coincidentally, captains on the same type of aircraft.
I said to him then, “Once the Borders re-open, you will see me again.”
Well my little brother, your flight has left and the rest of us are waiting in the Departure Lounge.
Fly high and free, the Heavens are yours. May God continue to keep you in the palm of His hands and give you a direct clearance all the way home.
Luvya Little Brother, for 55 years and counting...
Sheree and Davy - 19/06/2020
I cannot express in words our deepest sadness at Robbie’s passing. We are gutted, he was ever only such a good friend and we have been sharing all the wonderful times we spent together. Sadly it was not of late as everyone got so caught up with work and family.
I do not have Monique’s or Basil’s contact details, but know they probably want some quiet time now. It is hard to lose your father.
I pray for Carlene and all family members now—and you too, I know you and Chief were close.
Know we are thinking of you at this horrible time, we were all blessed that he was blessed with so many extra years following his illness over 20 years ago. We remember the day he received his “young” heart like yesterday. We also remember the long talks about starting up Tortuga rum and eating Carlene’s delicious rum cakes from Sandlewood apartments on Walkers Road.
We will miss him, as many others will.
We are thinking of you all at this time and please do give Monique and Basil my love.
Sheree and Davy.
Therese Griggs - 19/06/2020
My deepest condolences to all of you at this very difficult time. I am honoured and privileged to have spent time with Mr Hamaty over the past 8 years. He meant an awful lot to me and I am grateful for all that he shared and gave of himself.
He was a driving force that drove me to do my very best for Tortuga each and every day.
May his soul rest in eternal peace, he will never be forgotten.
Jerome Howie - 22/06/2020
It is with great sadness to hear of the untimely passing of a remarkable man.
I had only met Robert two times, and that several years ago, but his “sense of presence” was enormous. Very few have this presence where his figure dominates a conversation or a room. Robert certainly had this innate ability. I remember clearly our conversations, which unfortunately for me lasted too short a time.
He led a remarkable life and certainly was greatly appreciated and respected.
He will be sorely missed.
My sincerest condolences.
Corky Graff - 22/06/2020
Carlene, Monique and Marcus,
I found out earlier today of Mr.H's passing. I am devastated! He was a true and loyal friend whom I will never forget. He always found room for a joke or a great quote, and he always got the best of me. No surprise there. From the day I met him On father's day weekend in 2003 or 2004 I knew I had a friend for life, not just a friend but the kind you can always count on through thick and thin.
He always brightened my day and made me a better person.
Men like him don't come along very often, he will always have a place in my heart.
Of course everyone is grieving now but I would certainly like to reach out to all of you when the time is right.
Richard and Sandy Flowers - 23/06/2020
Tribute to Robbie Hamaty
We met Robbie in 1978 almost the day he arrived in Cayman. Out of that meeting grew a life long friendship. We had similar interests in fishing and hunting. We spent a lot of time at the shooting range skeet shooting, where we taught Basil to shoot at a young age. We did a lot of things with Robbie and Carlene. As we are not very comfortable flyers we always knew we were in good hands when Chief was in the cockpit. Even better if Carlene was serving in the cabin. We were well looked after!!! We had great times traveling to Jamaica for fishing tournaments where we were treated like family by Robbies family and friends. We took a trip to Barbados with them and even let Robbie talk us into flying in a small plane to St Lucia. Only Robbie could get us to do that!!! We had a great time. Carlene is a fantastic cook and invited us to dinner almost every week. We knew we would be having her ( now famous) rum cake for dessert and loved it. It was during hunting trips that Richard learned that Robbie was deadly afraid of snakes!! He called them “SERPENTS”. We always celebrated birthdays and anniversaries together. Every Birthday after the transplant was even more special to Robbie and we enjoyed celebrating with him and Carlene and the children.
Richard remembers after a long evening at Sunset House Robbie invited a few guys back to his place to eat stew peas that Carlene had so lovingly prepared. As Carlene had to fly early the next morning she left them to heat up the food. Needless to say they all fell asleep and when the food started to burn the smoke alarm went off very loudly!!! It woke Carlene up and she came to the top of the stairs and almost at the same time Robbie jumped up and announced “Gentlemen..... That means Dinner is served “ Carlene blessed all of them for almost burning down her apartment. The joke after that was “ How do you know when dinner is ready?.... When the smoke alarm goes off!!!! We are heartbroken beyond words but know that we have so many memories in our hearts to help us heal. We are so blessed to have been a part of Robbies and his entire family’s life for 42 years. Rest In Peace Chief. We will take good care of Carlene and the children and grand children for you. Always in our Hearts. Bigga and Sandy. ❤️
Judy McInnes - 24/06/2020
I write this with great sadness. I cannot believe that Robbie has gone..
Robbie was one of my childhood friends growing up in Sav la Mar, Jamaica. We were neighbours and he was like my brother. His entire family are like my family.
I will always have special memories of Robbie. He was kind, funny and told jokes, we spent lots of fun times together.
Robbie was a wonderful person and one of a kind.
In later years we lived in different countries. Every time I saw Tortuga cakes, I would say "I know the owner. We grew up together" .
Last year my husband and I spent a wonderful day with Robbie in Cayman. We talked of old days and new days, of his family and hopes for the future.
We are very fortunate to have Robbie's daughter Monique and family in our lives, thanks to Robbie.
The world has lost a wonderful and great person.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Rest in peace my friend.
Judy and Brad McInnes
Davy, Sheree, Erica and Melanie Ebanks - 27/06/2020
We watched with tears as RMH 3103 landed, your final flight captained by your son—the salute carried out by our fire service---a most wonderful and well-deserved tribute.
Robbie, we were gutted when we heard the news. We know how much your amazing family will miss you, you were such a proud father and grandfather. We remember all the wonderful times shared in Little Cayman especially, trips over to Cayman Brac by boat, the Easter Sunday brunches. A love of fishing, get togethers, the birth of Tortuga Rum and especially, the birth of those incredible rum cakes that Carlene tirelessly baked in that oven from your apartment. Erica and Melanie fondly remember “Uncle Robbie”. So gentle, always kind. Everyone is so grateful for all the extra time you were gifted….twenty two years with a young heart. Thank you for all your advocacy for organ transplants and awareness for donors , thank you for being a true heart hero and friend. Your legacy will live on in both Monique who inherited your gift of business, and Basil who inherited your gift of flight. Carlene, you are an amazing, strong woman—our sincere condolences. Monique and Basil, know your Dad was loved and was a very special person.
Rest in peace, Chief!
With deepest sympathy
Davy, Sheree, Erica and Melanie Ebanks
Margie Geddes - 28/06/2020
A friendship I will forever cherish with memories of great jokes, and laughs. It was his smile, and twinkly (sometimes impishly devilish) eyes that made one know that something profoundly funny was imminent. No matter how much time passed between a lunch or just a hug, it was always as if no time passed. So - until we meet again for that hug, and a joke...
From Margie Geddes
Sarita Khan - 28/06/2020
For me, Robbie Hamaty was my big brother growing up and I loved him dearly. Whether it was dropping and picking me from Saturday matinees at Carib Theatre, innumerable fishing trips, rides to Vernam Field to watch car racing where somehow I always ended up with the job of bartender to the many friends attending, Robbie was always there for me.
I was also one of his first employees when he asked me to come and manage Jammin Smoke House in the early 80’s. Neither he nor I knew anything about running a fast food jerk chicken restaurant which should have been the first sign that perhaps this would not end well, but Robbie was fearless and we opened near the airport. I moved to Cayman to live, and Robbie and I rented a 2 bedroom apartment in West Bay and were room-mates. It was here that Robbie proved to be an ardent supporter of women’s rights. We were at Sunset House one afternoon, a couple of weeks after I arrived and I was chilling out with a Red Stripe. Robbie was invited to play some dominoes with 3 other men. After a couple of sixes, one man got up and I approached Robbie and asked if I could join in. Before Robbie could answer, one of the men at the table, said “ Sorry dahlin…. this is a man’s game. You can play later.” Immediately Robbie looked up and said, “Come on Sweets, my partner, let’s show them how a woman can play dominoes.” I sat down and I think Robbie and I must have played non-stop for close to 5 hours, never losing. I was the only woman to play at that table. On the way home, I thanked him for supporting women’s equality. He gave that fabulous chuckle of his and said “Women’s equality??? Not a rass…I have been playing dominoes with you for 12 years and left my wallet at home. I didn’t want to have to buy anyone drinks (it was customary for losers to buy the next round) and knew together, we would mash them up and we did!”
Maggy Millar Leon - 01/07/2020
A TRIBUTE TO MY FRIEND AND BOSS, ROBERT HAMATY, OD
Here is to you, Mr. Robbie, I raise my glass to you my dear friend who I knew for 44 years and was my boss for over 24. May your soul rest in peace and light perpetual shine upon you.
When we met in the 70’s you were a young Captain who flew for Air Jamaica and was already an achiever of great things, you had been written up in the Guinness book of world records as the youngest Commercial Airline Captain to fly across the Atlantic, at that time on Air Jamaica’ s DC 8 jet. We all looked up to you in wonder and knew that you were headed for greater and higher things. The political climate became worrisome in Jamaica and you immigrated with your young family to a more stable environment, Florida, however you never forgot your struggling friends you left behind and stayed in close contact with us, frequently sending us a goody box to make up for the many things we were not able to obtain in the troubled Jamaica. All your life, you were the kindest and most thoughtful friend anyone could ever want to have.
You returned often to Jamaica to participate in fishing tournaments and when you moved to Cayman as a pilot with Cayman Airways was instrumental in setting up the Cayman Islands Pilot’ s Association Fishing Tournament, the success of it was admirably noted by the IGFA and it became the Million Dollar Month Fishing Tournament.
You served in Cayman as the first Jamaican Consular General. You along with Carlene by your side owned and operated an extremely successful business, Tortuga Rum Company Ltd., where you manufactured the famous Rum Cake that achieved many accolades worldwide and made a name for Cayman. Recently you built two distilleries to manufacture your own rum that we are all proud of.
As is said - “The Grass never grew under your feet”, you were such a great achiever, I am in often awe of your numerous achievements done in such a short time after your heart transplant. You were a giant-sized entrepreneur and never stopped growing with humility and humor. Many a person was always interested in what you had to say, not only did you impart valuable knowledge, freely, but there was always a joke or two that was an integral part of your conversations. More often than not a meeting you attended ended up with the participants laughing gleefully at something humorous you had said.
I pray Mr. Robbie that you are at rest, that light perpetual shines upon you and in your usual inevitable style you are telling the angels on high one or two of your jokes.
May the Good Lord bless, Carlene, Monique, Basil your Grandchildren, Brother, Freddie, Sisters - Sonia & Helene, Aunt, Nieces, Nephews, In laws, other close relatives, friends and employees and provide them with comfort as they sorrow.
I miss and never will forget you and promise that I will continue to give my all to your legacy, that I am so proud to be a part of. Until we meet again.
Much love, Maggie
Capt. Dave Scott -
Tribute From Capt. Dave Scott
I meet Robbie back in 1973 when I joined Air Jamaica. He was always willing to offer advise to us younger pilots and how to advance our aviation knowledge and skills.
I also was fortunate to meet his extended family including his mother and father.
I had many memorable flights with him and social gatherings that I will never forget.
I remember one flight across the Atlantic where we lost all our cockpit supplemental oxygen prior to abeam Bermuda and he calmly said ‘ well I have a quick donning mask here beside me so you other pilots need to get an oxygen bottle from the cabin and sling it around your neck so you can access it easily and quickly in an emergency’
The rest of the flight, some 5 hours was flown like that and we arrived safely in London.
We had many a fishing trip as he was also an accomplished fisherman and was instrumental in starting the Cayman Airline Pilots Association annual fishing tournament which turned out to be the longest running continuous fishing tournament in the Cayman Islands.
Robbie was instrumental in forming the Cayman Airline Pilots Association and he nominated me to serve as its first President which I did for a number of years.
He joined Cayman Airways about the same time I did in 1978 as a Captain on the BAC1-11.
He helped me progress from a First Officer with Cayman Airways to the position of Captain and always offered encouragement.
He was a very good pilot. A natural as we pilots would say.
After he stopped flying, his son Basil started flying with Cayman Airways.
Basil showed some signs of his father’s flying skills and progressed to Captain in due time.
I remember Robbie being so proud of Basil when he learned he passed his check rides and was promoted to Captain.
As good a pilot that Robbie was, his marketing skills would outshine that feat as he started Tortuga Rum Company. He used these marketing skills to build Tortuga into a very successful company.
He was a kind and thoughtful man and always was willing to help and even when he could not, pointed you to someone who could.
His loving wife Carlene was always by his side and did her part in building Tortuga Rum company to what it is today.
To Carlene, Basil, Monique and the rest of the Family, I offer my sincerest condolences and you all can be assured Robbie is in a better place.
Robbie, you may be gone but will never be forgotten.
May your soul rest in peace. From your friend Capt. Dave Scott
Morton Dean - 01/07/2020
Robbie was a special kind of guy. Good friend. Good man. A room always brightened when he walked in. Not only was a room a brighter place when he was in it, so was the world. I treasure the time we hung out together.
Mark H. Brown
Monique and Carlene and family,
Here it is! My friend in Solana Beach scanned this for me and it came out OK. From left to right, if my memory serves, is Andy Campbell, I think that is Andy’s father next to him, then my dad George and Robbie, a mere 26 years old! I was only 17 myself!
This was the second time dad and Robbie hauled in record Blue Marlin’s in the famous Port Antonio derby, fishing from Key Card. I was there for this one. I will never forget a jealous onlooker remarking that he had been coming down from Dallas for 20 years to fish in the derby (a rich Texas oilman by the looks of him) and NEVER once hooked a Marlin! That was the luck my father had with fishing. We smoked this Marlin and I can remember how good it was when we live on Lombard Close in Kingston all those years ago.
Strange thing too, if you believe in duppies, and I do! I have been a life long fisherman too. After my dad died only a decade after this picture was taken, I was jinxed in my luck fishing for nearly 20 years! I had great luck before dad died, but not afterwards . But I finally had the curse removed by my wife’s (Marilyn) aunt, who happens to be a full blood southern Tutchone Indian from way up in the Yukon Territory. I told her about my bad luck, and my dad’s good luck. She asked me if I thought my dad had any native Indian blood in him. I thought, wow what a strange question? Little did she know that in fact he DID have some Indian blood in him (look hard that the photo and I think you will see it! LOL!). Anyway, she did a little incantation and ‘lo and behold’, later that week when I was fishing with Marilyn, I caught my first fish in a long long time!
I think dad had that kind of luck, and I think Robbie knew it which is why he kept asking my dad back to fish in the derby?
I hope this photo brings back some great memories for you all.
Mark. H. Brown
Robin Hart - 04/07/2020
Sad news of the passing of a good friend today!
Captain Robert Hamaty was one of the first group of 12 Air Jamaica pilots, aka "The Dirty Dozen". They set the standard for all those who came behind them, and the bar was set very high!
As a young Second Officer on the Air Jamaica DC-8, I sat behind Robbie, then a First Officer, on many flights, and marvelled at the skills of the man. I watched him (admittedly on rare occasions) take control of the aircraft from a Captain (and yes we had a couple contract pilots who didn't measure up.. and didn't stay long with Air J.), and "save the day". It left an indelible mark on this young sprog, and served me well throughout my own career.
Robbie was one of those larger than life characters that I met at 13 years old, at Jamaica College. He was the first, and only senior schoolboy who made me sing a song (an initiation tradition that new boys at JC boys were put through)... we joked about it through the years, as he was facety enough to criticise my singing .
He gave me my final line check when I became a Captain on the Boeing 727, and in my de-brief I blamed him for any shortcomings that he mentioned (thankfully there were only a couple minor points).
His career took him to Cayman Airways and unfortunately it was cut short due to severe medical issues that resulted in him having a heart transplant.
Never a man to be kept down, Robbie (along with his wife), started Tortuga Rum Cakes, which has enjoyed phenomenal worldwide success. Robbie took my wife and I on a tour of his Cayman production facility, one of several throughout the Caribbean and Florida... amazing! He joked that since, at the time, nobody had lived longer than 15 years after a transplant, so he at least knew his "sell by date". He went on to obliterate that number, and become one of the longest living transplant recipients.
RIP my dear friend and mentor... your legacy is assured! The many who knew you, will raise a toast to you as you take to the skies on your final journey
Auntie San and Uncle Arek - 11/07/2020
There are many who will mourn with you as they cast their minds back over the years of interaction with your Dad. We knew him when he was a teenager in Kingston when he was courting your mother Jackie. Even at such a young age Robbie had a presence, a charisma, that made him immediately likable. He loved life and all the good things it offered, particularly laughter, which he so enjoyed sharing with his many friends when telling his jokes.
The teenager soon became a remarkable young man and Air Jamaica’s youngest Captain in charge of DC8’s on the Kingston/London route.
His stellar airline career was interrupted by health problems and being Robbie, nothing short of a successful heart transplant would do. With his new heart came a new life, the majority of which he spent in Cayman, first as a Cayman Airways captain, and then as a captain of industry. He and his wife Carlene developed the Tortuga products into an Internationally recognised brand and gave employment to many in Cayman.
Despite his diminutive frame Robbie was a giant in many respects and his family should be justifably proud to be associated with his name. May his soul rest in peace.
Auntie San and Uncle Arek xxxxx
Marie & Vic - 09/07/2020
We didn’t get to see Robbie very often because of the distance between us.
In spite of that, we felt very close to Robbie. He’s my cousin and we held him very close to our heart. It was always a pleasure to see him or talk to him when we were on our cruises and went to Grand Cayman. He always made an effort to try to see us or send us goodies. We regret that we never got to see him this past January because due to sickness, we didn’t get off the ship. He was so thoughtful and loving and we will all miss him very much. We love you Robbie and May you Rest In Peace. Love, Marie and Vic️️
Max & Gem Honeyghon - 13/07/2020
For my brother Robbie,
I’m not sure that I can find the words that will convey just how much Robbie has meant to me or how much I will miss him. I consider myself fortunate to have many years of memories with him to reflect upon. One of my fondest memories is of him flying. When he was a pilot with Air Jamaica, he would fly over the house in Sav-la-mar to let me know he was ready for me to pick him up from the airport in MoBay. The ride back home would add to many stories that I could share.
Robbie was one of the most down to earth people I know. He had a gentle spirit but was not afraid to speak his mind. I am so proud of all he has accomplished over the years. He balanced his professional drive while maintaining a strong balance with his family. He loved his family which was shown in his dedication to them. I remember when he started Tortuga rum cake. The hard work he put into that business will now become a part of his legacy.
Robbie, Gem and I will miss you. Thank you for the many years of memories. You will never be forgotten. May your soul rest peacefully, Max & Gem.
Jackie & Joe Simmons - 15/07/2020
I am profoundly sorry to be writing this tribute in memory of our children’s beloved father Robert Michael Hamaty, Gidu. I do so with a heavy heart as the mother of our two children Monique and Basil.
Robbie was taken before his time, but as you will hear from others paying tribute, he fit several lifetimes into his 72 years. As a young man, Robbie stood out from his peers. There was just something different about him. His huge personality, and enjoyment of everything that life offered captured everyone’s attention.
His skills as a pilot were notable and I believe that he is still the youngest captain in all of Air Jamaica‘s history. At the age of 24, he had the responsibility of transporting hundreds of passengers nonstop across the Atlantic on the old four engine DC8’s. As the mother of his pilot son, Basil, I realize just how young he was, with so much responsibility on such young shoulders, which proved to be an excellent training ground for his future and very successful life in business.
Robbie‘s second chance at life came when he received the heart of a 26-year-old who had died in a parachuting accident. He always considered that the good Lord had given him a second chance which he certainly did not waste.
The third chapter of his life opened when he moved to Cayman and joined Cayman Airways in the late 70s. Although that career was cut short due to health problems, he had by then, the good fortune of meeting Carlene who became his beloved wife, his rock.
The rest, as they say is history, and Robbie will be forever memorialized for putting Cayman on the map as a major exporter with the commercial success of Tortuga Rum and Tortuga Rum Cakes In business he was determined, knew where to go, and how to get there.
My pride in Robbie as a businessman is exceeded only by his qualities as a father and grandfather. His world revolves around our children and the gift of six grandchildren who became the centre of his universe.
To those who knew Robbie, he was a constant friend and always great fun to be with. Our children have a legacy to uphold based on the example set by their father of honesty, respect, and decency that is not inherited but earned.
Over the years, Robbie and my husband Joe Simmons bonded and became friends, as did Joe‘s children. Joe is unable to join us here to help comfort the family, due to the COVID-19 outbreak; however, he joins me in this tribute. Rest in peace dearest Robbie… Goodbye “Buzz.“ Til we meet again… Thank you for our wonderful children.
Mike & Kay Stephenson - 03/08/2020
A number of weeks ago, my cousin passed away in the United States. Writing a tribute is difficult because Robbie still lives on in the hearts of every person he has ever touched. Robbie loved people, and was loved in return by all.
My earliest remembrances was his many visits to my parents’ house in Miami. He had an infectious laugh and smile and somewhat mischievous at times. Though Robbie was in his early seventies, he died young. Our entire family will always hold in our hearts beautiful memories of Robbie. He was a devoted husband, father, and brother. Never intimidated by the future, he was a risk taker, adventurer and much more -- He was a man who loved life and treasured each moment! We are comforted knowing Robbie is in the loving arms of our Father in Heaven. Mike and Kay Stephenson
Winston Williams - 18/08/2020
I was at your dad's 60th, at the dinner on the Friday night and the party the next day. We had communicated and you were kind enough to take the time to send me a lot of the pictures from the celebration. I saved them all in a file so that I can relive the memories of that special time.
My apologies for sending this so late but I was unable to get your email address until today. I didn't have Basil's email address either, but I was able to get it and I sent him an email a few weeks ago asking him to convey my condolences to you but I haven't received a reply. I hope that he is coping as well as can be.
Your dad was an incredible person and highly respected. When I joined Air Jamaica back then in 1972, I would look up to him and wanted to be like him. His legacy will live on forever. I wish for you, Basil, Carlene and the entire family, all the courage, love and support that is needed now and in the future.