Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Sunday | February 1, 2009
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Businessmen awarded doctorates
Tyrone Reid, Staff Reporter

Chancellor of the University of Technology, William Morris (left), adjusts the tassel on Gordon 'Butch' Stewart's mortar board shortly after conferring an honorary degree on him yesterday at the University of Technology, St Andrew. - Peta-Gaye Clachar/Staff Photographer

ANOTHER FEATHER was tucked neatly into the already well-decorated hats of Maurice William Facey and Gordon 'Butch' Stewart yesterday, as the University of Technology (UTech) conferred honorary degrees on both men.

The conferment of the Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) on Facey and Stewart was attended by many of the movers and shakers of corporate Jamaica, as well as senior Cabinet ministers and other high-ranking public officials.

After the conferment ceremony, Facey told The Sunday Gleaner that the honour would have a place on the top shelf of his trophy case.

"I am ecstatic!" he said, adding that it was certainly one of his greatest achievements.

Before the honorary degree was conferred, citations detailing some of the many accomplishments of Stewart and Facey were read by Pamela Kelly, public orator for UTech.

Facey was humble in his acceptance speech: "To find myself this morning among such distinguished scholars and academics, to be the beneficiary of an honorary degree from such an important university, to be the subject of such a generous tribute, frankly, makes me feel like a lion in a den of Daniels," he said.

New Parliament building

Facey, founder of the Kingston Restoration Company and founding chairman of the Pan Caribbean Merchant Bank, lamented that Jamaica has been backward in the discipline of architecture.

He heaped praises on UTech for having created a faculty of architecture. In addition to reiterating his dream to see the city of Kingston restored to its former glory, Facey also made an appeal for a new Parliament building.

"And how can we expect our legislators to think outside the box if we encase them in that uninspired rectangle on Duke Street which we call Parliament?"

He added that the construction of a new Parliament building with the appropriate satellite structures, such as a new gallery, an archival centre and perhaps a new Court of appeals building, should be a civic priority.

Businessman William Facey (right) also received an honorary doctor of laws degree.

Stewart, founder of Appliance Traders Limited and the Sandals hotel chain, and chairman of The Jamaica Observer newspaper, had kind words for the people who had helped him build his empire.

"This country of ours, the only people who can stop it [its progress] is we ourselves," said Stewart, who was hailed as the "king of all-inclusives".

He also made a call for the implementation of systems that would prevent public officials from ending up on the "woodpile and struggling for the rest of their lives" after their careers had ended.

"I have never seen or heard of a poor American ex-president," Stewart said.


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