Popular hospitality leader Morris dies
Derek Morris, an entrepreneur and musician whose businesses entertained locals and visitors alike, has died at the age of 66.
A keen observer and commentator on the island’s hospitality industry, Mr Morris ran Bermuda Island Cruises with his brother Donald, operating tours and themed parties for decades.
The group’s “pirate parties” and other festive excursions to Hawkins Island ran during the heydays of local tourism, but many of the Morris brothers’ clientele were locals seeking a good night out.
In a 2005 interview, Mr Morris looked back on the struggle balancing his early days working as an accountant with his late nights playing music, ultimately leading him to a job with Kitson & Co, and his introduction to the cruise business.
“They owned the BIC then, and my first job was entertaining on the boats, talking to the tourists, and occasionally playing for them,” he recalled.
Mr Morris rose in the ranks, eventually taking over the company’s group tours — which he and his brother bought in 1984.
Spotting a growing market, the brothers developed touring, with Donald Morris “the leading force”, his brother said — building new boats and developing group charters and evening tours. Mr Morris also ran Bermuda Incentives & Conventions.
“Put the customer first,” was his business mantra, Mr Morris told The Royal Gazette.
He brought his hospitality expertise to the Bermuda National Trust, where he served as executive director for a stint in 2007. Mr Morris also served as a union representative for entertainers.
Reggae singer Biggie Irie paid tribute to his “boss and friend” in a post online, extending condolences to his wife Kyle, his son Alex and daughter Stephanie.
Recalling Mr Morris’s passion for music, he wrote: “I will always remember and love Derek Morris. He was a great human being and a gentleman. I will miss him.”
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