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KINGSTON, Jamaica; May 27, 2021: Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett is mourning the passing of tourism stalwart and prominent businessman, Ernest Smatt, who died today (May 27, 2021) at the age of 88. Smatt died in Miami, Florida, while receiving treatment in hospital.
“Jamaica mourns the passing of a real tourism icon. Ernie Smatt was the quintessential tourism man. He understood the game and had the swagger that created the phenomenon he was during a period when Jamaica was the playground of the rich and famous, “said Minister Bartlett.
Smatt owned and operated a number of tourism enterprises over the years, such as Watersports Enterprises Ltd., Shaw Park Hotel in St. Ann, Brimmer Hall Great House in St. Mary, and Mangos Beach Resort in Trelawny.
He also had investments in tourism businesses in Grand Cayman and served as Chairman of The White House, which is a popular restaurant and venue there.
“Ernie brought entrepreneurship to another level. He invested in Jamaica and other Caribbean islands. He brought a level of distinction that was noticeable because of how he conducted himself and how he comported himself. He was suave and classy. He had a knack for getting to the hearts of the beautiful people who visited Jamaica,” added the Minister.
“He had a way with the stars and almost every known celebrity of the 50s and 60s who came to Jamaica had an acquaintance with Ernie Smatt. I think that as a Portland entrepreneur, in particular, he will be well remembered,” he outlined.
In 2016, the Government of Jamaica recognized Smatt, for his outstanding contribution to the development of tourism in Jamaica by honouring him with the Order of Distinction (Commander Class).
“Jamaica has lost one of its fine tourism sons. On behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica, I offer sincere condolences to his family and other loved ones, as well as to his staff, who I am sure will all miss him dearly. We wish that the legacy he left behind will be an inspiration that will help them go through this period in a manner that will give them solace. May his soul rest in peace and light perpetual shine upon him,” Minister Bartlett said.