HE was that rare breed of businessman, one with country first conscience. He was also someone unafraid to speak his mind, regardless of whose toes he may have trod upon. For him, truth and service to country were things always to be pursued.
When in 1979, the Saint Lucia Labour Party formed the government of Saint Lucia it tapped the expertise of Jeffrey Stewart and enquired of him whether he would accept the position of Comptroller of Inland Revenue. Jeff – as he was more commonly and affectionately known – had by then already earned a reputation for free and independent thinking and he agreed with a caveat; there was to be no political interference.
Though his would be a short stint, comparatively speaking, his impact on revenue stimulation remains something spoken about even today nearly four decades on. The stirring testimonials of those who worked with him at the department suggest a tenure of outstanding achievement.
Though Jeff was never a card bearing member of the Saint Lucia Labour Party he was never shy about making known his views that the party’s philosophy was nearer to his than were other political entities. That did not, however, when the occasion demanded, prevent him from publicly disagreeing with the party. But that was Jeff saying as he saw it.
Political Leader Hon. Philip J. Pierre, upon learning of his passing, spoke glowing about Jeff’s professionalism, and commitment to his country. “Jeff was the consummate professional.
He was someone I could rely upon to speak openly and truthfully with me. He was never too busy to provide his views on any matter which I may have raised with him.
He would tell me if he disagreed with my position and would support me if he agreed. I shared with him my copy of the estimates of Revenue Expenditure and he always wanted them as early as possible after release.
I will certainly miss his wise counsel.
The Saint Lucia Labour Party thanks Jeffery Stewart for his dedicated service to his country and to the party.
To Dolores his wife, and to his children, please accept our deepest condolences and may Jeff’s soul rest in perfect peace.
He will not be forgotten. (SLP)