Eileen Paul, renowned for her more than 30 years of service in the St. Lucian hospitality and tourism industry, passed away on Saturday morning after a prolonged illness.
Paul has been described as the “heart and soul” of the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA).
When she joined the SLHTA in 1973 it was known as the Hotel Association and membership consisted of six hotels and seven restaurants, according to an article on the Association’s website about Paul’s tenure.
“She entered this field at a time when tourism was neither understood nor accepted by the general public, nevertheless she worked tirelessly at the St. Lucia Hotel & Tourism Association to facilitate its acceptance, contributing in no small part to the high profile which it enjoys today,” the article further states.
As the lone employee of the Association for 14 years, according to the SLHTA, Paul worked “tirelessly and gave yeoman service”.
In addition to her duties as secretary of the Association, she was also the secretary to the Board of Directors. She served as travelling stenographer to the Eastern Caribbean Tourism Association (ECTA) from 1973 for two years and in 1977 was a founding member of the Caribbean Society of Hotel Association Executives, the SLHTA stated.
President of the SLHTA Karolin TroubetzkoyI is one of the many persons who have paid tribute to Paul via social media.
Writing on her Facebook profile, Troubetzkoyl said: “I am extremely sad to have just learnt of the passing of Mrs Eileen Paul. Mrs Paul – for as long as I can remember – was the heart and soul of our Saint Lucia Hotel & Tourism Association. She was instrumental in so many ways to encourage me to engage with the SLHTA and she would never take no for an answer. It has been an honor.”
Allen Chastanet, leader of the main opposition United Workers Party, also paid tribute to Paul via his Facebook page.
He said: “St. Lucia has lost two beautiful, warm-hearted women in Eileen Paul and Antonia Jean. Both made significant contributions to the development of our national tourism product. Eileen made an invaluable contribution through SLHTA for many, many years, and Antonia devoted her time and effort to the training of youth in the hospitality sector at SALCC. Both women will be dearly missed. My heart goes out to their families and friends during their time of bereavement.”
Paul was made an honorary member of the SLHTA in 2010
She had also received numerous other awards in the field:
– 1994: Professional Service Award – Professional Secretaries Association
– 1997: Lifetime Achievement Award – Ministry of Tourism
– 2004: Certificate of Appreciation – Mount Saint Vincent University
– 2005: Dedicated Service Award – Saint Lucia Hotel & Tourism Association Inc
– 2007: Member of the British Empire – Queen’s Birthday Honours
– 2012: Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal – Office of the Governor General
Though Paul is better known in the tourism and hospitality field, she also did some teaching.
According to the SLHTA, she was a Certified Teacher of Speedwriting Shorthand, and between 1984 and 1989, taught secretarial practice part-time at the National Secretarial Institute, which “turned out a cadre of secretaries who have moved on to higher positions in the commercial and corporate sectors and even their own businesses”.
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