Tortuga Rum owner passes away

| 13/06/2020 | 43 Comments
Cayman News Service
Robert Hamaty

(CNS) Updated: The Tortuga Rum Company issued a release Saturday morning to announce that the founder and the owner of the company, Robert Hamaty, passed away peacefully this morning, 13 June, at Miami Baptist Health Center in Florida. The 72-year-old Jamaican-born businessman and former pilot, who made the Cayman Islands his home for the last 42 years, was a well-known public figure across the islands

The company that Hamaty founded became an iconic feature of Cayman tourism and produced the country’s largest export, Tortuga Rum cakes, with store fronts throughout the islands.

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

In the wake of the sad news condolences poured in and the Ministry of Tourism issued a statement describing him as a “dear friend” and “esteemed tourism industry partner”.

“Robert Hamaty was a man of purpose who was admired for his business acumen and highly respected as an advocate for our tourism industry,” the ministry stated. “In 1992 he was appointed as the Cayman Islands’ first Honorary Consul for Jamaica and greatly contributed to the development of diplomatic and trade relations between the two countries during his 16 year tenure.”

Hamaty was also a vocal advocate for organ donation. He was a member of the Human Tissue Transplant Council after he underwent a heart transplant in 1994.

Statement from Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell on the passing of Robert Hamaty

Captain Robert Hamaty, CAL tribute


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Comments (43)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Many moons ago I thought about opening a coffee shop. I asked Robbie what he thought and he couldn’t have been more giving and more generous with his time and encouragement. I actually couldn’t believe how much time he actually spent with me and then sent me off on my way with some of his Tortuga coffee. Yes he was warm and generous and always seemed to overlook my quirkiness and listened to me drone on with mild amusement. I cant say I knew him that well but what I did know of him I can only say, he was a gentleman to me. My sincere condolences to his family especially his kids. This will be hard for them. But as for Carlene, I cannot imagine what she’s going through. From all accounts (and I dont know her well at all) Robbie was her life and she was perhaps his rock. Her story on the origins of Tortuga Rum cannot be overlooked but as they say behind every great man – is a.woman. My thoughts go out to them from our family to theirs.

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  2. Mr. Robbie , Wi Giant says:

    TO: Anonymous says:
    14/06/2020 at 5:55 pm

    I am in agreement with you. Mr. Hamaty was a wonderful man. A Jamaican/Caymanian gentleman that I am proud of. He has helped so many from his two homes (Jamaica and Cayman). I am proud of you my brother and you will be missed. In regards to the negative post, I can only conclude, that they are coming from the people that he fired for stealing from him. Shame on all 4 of you and your associates.

    To Ms. Carleen, Monique and Basil, unno man was a good man a real giant! A brilliant man and an Icon. To us, he was all ‘fi wi’,
    Robbie, R.I.P. until we meet again.

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  3. steve blair says:

    So sasd to see him go. It was just yesterday taht I stood outside Tortuga Rum cake in Jamaica and boasted that I knew the owner and family. To the family and my friend Basil, I offer condolences. May the Lord Strengthen you at this time.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    To the person or people saying negative things here, have some class and stop it. No one is perfect and I am sure you can find fault with anyone if you look hard enough. The Robby Hamaty I knew was a kind and generous man. He cared deeply for this country and worked very hard behind the scenes to make sure it succeeded.

    To his family, my deepest condolences and you can be rightly proud of the positive legacy he will leave. He will be sadly missed.

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  5. bob says:

    Whoever is negative trolling these comments needs to stop!….rest in peace Mr Hamaty

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    • Chris Johnson says:

      I agree with you. The negative posts are appalling. Mr Hamaty gave all to Cayman. He was successful but so what? He gave back to the community and we should all be thankful to him.

      My condolences to his family.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Today Cayman Pepper Patch pays tribute to Robert Hamaty. Robby as he was affectionately known, passed away on June 13th 2020. My mentor, my friend. A HUGE supporter of my little company Cayman Pepper Patch. Robby guided me through my start up years encouraging me not to give up. He gave me valuable tips to growing a small cottage industry and was never too busy to take my calls. I shall miss his friendship and advice terribly. My sister reminded me yesterday that Robby was the pilot who flew our family and our belongings to Cayman from Jamaica in 1973. To be honest, I remember the flight (a rickety old freight plane) but took no notice of the pilot at the time! That’s how far we go back.
        Robby and his wife Carlene were movers and shakers in breaking into the world of Cayman-made commerce. Like myself, they too started off in their kitchen by creating what is now known globally as the famous Tortuga Rum Cake. Unlike Robby, I have no desire to go global nor do I have the know-how nor perseverance that Robby possessed. I watched him fight so many battles and claw his way to well-deserved fame and decided very early on that I did not want that struggle.
        I shall never forget a meeting I had with Robby many moons ago. I wanted to get into the airport departure lounge with my pepper jelly. I went to see him about carrying my Pepper Patch jelly in his retail shop. In his usual blunt way he said, “why would I do that when I have my own pepper jelly… that would be stupid.” Then he leaned back in that big executive chair of his and added with his cheeky grin, “but I will support you.” Not sure why he did. Maybe it was our history, maybe he liked me, maybe he thought my jelly was the best maybe he just felt sorry for me… I’ll never know.
        What I do know is I shall miss his counsel terribly. I shall miss his unfiltered truths and his amazing sense of humour.
        Walk Good my friend….!

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    • Anonymous says:

      nobody said negative things about HIM.

      “I cannot speak ill of the man himself; he was always very kind to me.”

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps to honour him, we could rename Rum Point to Tortuga Rum Point

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  7. Anonymous says:

    My condolences to the family. Particularly in these times of restricted travel and government quarantines.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    man may obtain unlimited wealth but our balance of time will always constrain.

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  9. Jack Nicholson says:

    RIP big guy. They’ll never know the truth!

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  10. Anonymous says:

    I cannot speak ill of the man himself; he was always very kind to me. But with his passing goes a large part of something that Cayman has needed to move on from: the rank entitlement of the merchant class. That cannot be denied. One less vested interest is, in this case sadly and perversely, something to celebrate given the state of our society. RIP to both.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I am sickened by your comment. Go pray for your soul, what a horrible thing to say
      RIP Mr Hamaty

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    • Anonymous says:

      You need to seek professional help. Mr Hamaty did more for people than you can even dream of. Do us all a favor and stfu.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wow. Can’t argue with a word you wrote, but wow.

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    • Anonymous says:

      @4:39pm – And you really thought that this was the appropriate time and place to voice your opinion?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Mr Hamaty is a national hero

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    • Anonymous says:

      How dare you. You are one sad and disturbed person.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Oh dear! There will always be a merchant class and there is nothing nefarious about that. The man made the money by investing. There will always be those of us who will be the buyers. He was a kind compassionate and humble man who invested in the Cayman Islands as well as Jamaica. What exactly was wrong with that? He left a cgood legacy – what will yours be?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, there will always be a merchant class, but I doubt if there will be another member of it here so insistent on having his way, wherever he went, blocking opportunities for others, demanding special treatment, and holding up the progress of a nascent country that was not his own in the process. Anyone who did not hear the collective sigh of relief has never had to deal with that side of him, and I promise you, it was heard. For all he did for Cayman, you don’t see a true outpouring of grief on this page, or anywhere else, and that is why. He was a flawed man with a lot of energy, a big heart and a big appetite for life, who leaves a tangible legacy of business success and fond memories for many. No more, no less.

        My legacy, if I can manage it, will be to make Cayman a place where financial might does not make moral right, and decisions are made according to what is proper and best for all, not just for those who can bend the right ears, wave enough cash, or issue the correct threats. I will need a lot of help with that, and I see that I will not be recruiting most of the people who commented on this article.

        I said it was sad and perverse, and I meant that. I said he was kind to me. I’m still not wrong, as others have acknowledged.

        CNS, if you will post this final comment, I will not respond to any others. Someone had to say what I have said.

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        • Opinionated says:

          I am glad you explained yourself better. There may be persons who do not understand the TRUTH about your post and those who refuse to accept the TRUTH of your post. I am not one of those persons.

          I am empathetic towards the loss his family feels as that is my nature. However that said, Mr. Hamaty prevented many other would be entrenpenaurs from following their dreams. He capitalized his business much like many feel CUC has done since the last Century. In the democratic society inwhich The Cayman Islands is supposedly a part of, you and I (and trust me many more people) believe he did not play fair.

          That said, the man has passed away and I sincerely offer my condolences to his family, friends and loved ones.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I agree 4:39. For far too long a few have broke the backs of the underclass to make their loot.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    A wonderful man, so sorry to hear of his passing. May his soul Rest In Peace.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    R,I,P Mr.Hamaty and condolences to family and friends,

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Hamaty has moved on to his eternal reward.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Rest In Peace Bobby.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    My condolences to Ms. Carlene and the rest of the family. I worked with Captain Hamaty many years ago at Cayman Airways and he was a wonderful man and always had a smile on his face. He will be greatly missed.

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  16. Cayman Mon says:

    A great man and pioneer. Will be greatly missed.

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