Tortuga Rum founder passes

Former Jamaica Observer Business Leader nominee, founder of the Tortuga Rum Company Robert Hamaty passed away in a Miami hospital on Saturday.

He was 72.

The company confirmed his passing in a press release.

“Robert Hamaty will be sorely missed by family and friends who thank you for their privacy during this difficult time. Details of [his] memorial will be circulated when relevant,” the company said.

Hamaty, who hails from Westmoreland in Jamaica, was nominated for the Jamaica Observer Business Leader Awards in 2011 when the newspaper recognised eight entrepreneurs within the Jamaican Diaspora for significant contribution to the economic development of their adopted countries.

“We are very honoured and humbled to be recognised along with such inspiring and successful fellow Jamaican entrepreneurs,” Hamaty’s daughter Monique Hamaty-Simmonds, president and CEO of Tortuga Rum Company, said then.

The company is a US$10-million per year business with 18 branded shops and in-bond stores and customers in 70 countries around the world.

Hamaty and his wife Carlene started the company in Grand Cayman in 1984 and later introduced the Tortuga Rum Cake baked from a generations’ old family recipe.

He lived in the Cayman Islands for some 40 years and served as Jamaica’s honorary consul there from 1992 to 2009.

Before getting into the rum business he was an airline pilot, first with Air Jamaica and later for Cayman Airways.

He was also a director of the National Building Society of Cayman, now JN Cayman; and JN Money Services Limited in the Cayman Islands.

Hamaty is survived by his wife Carlene and two children, Monique and Cayman Airways Captain Basil Hamaty.

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