Tribute by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, Q.C, M.P. to former head of the Barbados Board of Tourism, Patricia Nehaul.
It was with a deep sense of personal sadness and loss that I learnt of the passing of a true mentor and family friend, tourism pioneer Patricia Nehaul, who would have been referred to across the sector affectionately as Pat.
Mrs. Nehaul left us on May Day at the age of 87 after a life that was dedicated to the development of our nation’s main economic driver for the last half a century – and she has left a legacy of which we can all be proud.
The very course of her working life ought too to serve as a valuable lesson to every Barbadian of where hard work and dedication to duty can take anyone whose aim is to succeed. For while Mrs. Nehaul retired as the first and only woman to head the Barbados Board of Tourism in 1993, she started her career in the early 1950s as a receptionist/secretary to the then fledgling Publicity Committee, which operated the tourism booth at the then Seawell Airport.
Described in almost every reference to her long and distinguished career as “a pioneer”, Mrs. Nehaul, who was awarded the Barbados Service Star for her contribution to tourism, was the one who led the successful effort by Barbados to get the Automobile Association of America and its British counterpart to classify local hotels.
It has been more than a quarter of a century since she retired, but her contribution is still remembered by many and will live on long after her passing. Thanks in part to her effort, neither the West nor South Coast bears any resemblance to what existed when she started out.
On behalf of the Government and people of Barbados, I say to her children Patrick, Andrew and Saski and her wider family: The many long hours she spent away from you in service of Barbados have made a major positive difference in all our lives today. We will forever be grateful for her sacrifice – and for yours.
May she rest in peace.