The Saint Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association’s Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) disbursed the first ten grants to recipients under the Eileen Paul Secondary School Scholarship Fund on Friday, May 6, 2022.
The Fund seeks to provide bursaries annually to ten secondary school students whose parents work in the hospitality industry. This bursary will go towards school supplies, uniforms, books and transportation to attend school.
Recipients receive a grant of EC$1,000.00 each to support their tuition costs for the academic year and are eligible for an annual grant of EC$2,000.00 at the start of each academic year once they keep their grades up.
During the check handover ceremony held at the Finance Administrative Centre, Chairman of the TEF, Winston Anderson, congratulated the recipients, and urged them to take a page from the late tourism icon’s life story.
“If you could emulate the passion, the love (and) the care for each other that Eileen lived, and drive that through your everyday lives, then there is no doubt that not only will you be successful, but you will be a fantastic human being and a true professional,” Anderson stated.
Deputy Chairman of the TEF, Senator Noorani Azeez, also urged the students to strive for excellence, which was one of the qualities the scholarship’s namesake embodied during her decades of service in the hospitality sector.
“The title of this scholarship holds you to a higher level of honour among your peers,” Senator Azeez said. “Your behaviour reflects on the patron and the scholarship. Your academic records reflect on the scholarship. Your contributions in your communities and how well you excel – not only as a student, but a human being – are all considered in the award of this scholarship.”
Eileen Paul’s long and varied career spanned over fifty years. She was a teacher employed in Commerce and the St. Lucia Civil Service. She later qualified as 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.
Paul has been fondly described on many occasions as the “heart and soul” of the Saint Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association (SLHTA). She joined the organization in 1973 when it was called the Hotel Association at a time when there were only six hotels and seven restaurants as members. She was instrumental in taking the then ‘Hotel Association’ to a completely new level after working tirelessly for years. She was a lone employee for 14 years.
In 1988, and with a growing membership, she oversaw the renaming of the organization to the St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association. Her role was so varied and not only did she run the office, but she also attended various overseas promotions, training programmes and leadership conferences and helped to create events to foster engagement with the public. She was also a member of a vast array of committees — from the Action Aqua Committee to the St Lucia Jazz Executive Committee.
It is very easy to say that Eileen helped to craft the evolution of tourism in Saint Lucia by raising awareness of the product and fostering acceptance by the public of an industry that is now the driver of economic growth in St Lucia. She was revered by all who knew her and in 2010 she was made an honorary lifetime member of the SLHTA. After her passing, the Trustees of the Tourism Enhancement Fund decided to create an Eileen Paul Secondary School Scholarship Fund in her honour. The SLHTA’s corporate boardroom is also named in her honour.
Hon. Shawn Edward, Minister for Education, Sustainable Development, Innovation, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, commended the SLHTA for being a good corporate citizen over the years, especially in education. He encouraged all partners to continue collaborating in the interest of providing quality education for our youth.
Hon. Edward added: “And so at every opportunity, we encourage the private sector to get involved, we try to forge partnerships with friendly governments and corporate Saint Lucia. That is not because it’s a fashionable thing to do; it is the right thing to do. The government can never have enough resources to put our children in school to deliver the quality of education they need. And so, when entities or organizations like the SLHTA, which has over the years, continued to honour its corporate social responsibility, can come forward and make scholarships available to the children of this country, this is something that is commendable and something that we will fully endorse and encourage other entities to do.”