January 30, 2009
Connell laid to rest

Arthur Connell, one of this country’s prominent businessmen, was laid to rest yesterday at the St. George’s Anglican Cathedral.{{more}}

Connell died at 4:27 a.m. on Monday, January 26, 2009, at his Dorsetshire Hill residence.

His wife Elaine and a nurse were at his bedside when he died.

“We accept it gracefully,” said Elaine, of her husband’s passing, when contacted by SEARCHLIGHT.

Connell had a notable career, mainly in the field of business. He was also prominent in the area of community service.

Arthur Rawle Clemson Connell was born in St.Lucia on October 8, 1922, to Vincentian parents Sybble and Catherine Connell of Barrouallie and Layou, respectively. He was the sixth of 12 children (six boys and six girls).

At age seven, his family returned to St.Vincent and the Grenadines. Arthur received his primary education at home through tutelage from his mother. His secondary school education was attained at the St.Vincent Grammar School.

Upon completing his education, Arthur for some time worked with the Government. He also worked with the firm of Hadley Brothers in the field of Life Insurance.

By the 1960s, he decided to venture off on his own and started his own business. This initiative only lasted a few years because by 1967 ‘Connell’s Ltd’, a family business specializing in paint, lubricating oil (Castrol) and electrical wiring accessories, bought Arthur’s company and placed him as Managing Director.

Throughout his life, Arthur found time from his busy schedule to attend to community and corporate service oriented activities.

“He was a bit of a loner, except on Saturdays when he went on outings with the late Dr.(Earl) Kirby,” said Tracy Connell, one of Arthur’s brothers.

Tracy told SEARCHLIGHT that from an early age Arthur showed tremendous interest in business. He recalled that when Arthur finally started his business he always sought to bring new products to St.Vincent and the Grenadine.

“I wouldn’t even remember half of the things he did,” said Tracy, adding that his brother’s track record speaks for itself.

In 1959, Arthur spearheaded the launch of the St.Vincent Chapter of the West Indies Jaycees and was elected as the first President. He held this post for two years. He later accepted an invitation to serve on the Steering Committee for the establishment of a local branch of the Alliance Française. Arthur also served as President of the St.Vincent Chamber of Industry and Commerce from 1964 to 1970, and again from 1983 to 1984.

His years of service also included a stint as the President of the Employers Federation from 1988 until 1993.

In 1988, Connell accepted the challenge to revitalize the local Boy Scouts Association and served as its President until 1991. He also served as a member of the Incorporated Trustees of the Anglican Church from 1982.

As a founding member of the St.Vincent Children’s Welfare Fund Committee, he contributed greatly to the work of this organization and was its chairman from 1989 to 1997. He was also a member of the six-man steering committee set up in April 1999 to explore the possibility of establishing a home for persons living with the AIDS virus. In December the same year, this Committee formally launched the House of Hope Society.

For the outstanding contribution made in the various areas of service to the community, he was honoured with the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E) in 1986.