That’s how Barbados’ newest knight today described his elevation.
Sir Paul Altman, a prominent realtor, spoke to Barbados TODAY at his Sandy Lane, St James home this morning while receiving several congratulatory calls from friends and associates.
“I can only say that it is something that you cannot describe, something that is surreal. It is something that you never expected. I would have to learn how to fit into it,” he said of the honour he received from Britain’s Queen Elizabeth 11.
“When something like this happens to you the first thing that goes through your mind is, why you? There are so many people out there. It is one of the most difficult things to deal with,” Sir Paul added.
He went on to say that he was going to take time to understand the full impact of the honour.
” I am touched and very sensitive of how the award of Knight Bachelor fits in with me as a person. I hope that nothing changes who I am. I always want to stay who I am,” Sir Paul said.
Reflecting on his many achievements over the years, he said he gets the greatest satisfaction from being the Chairman of the Campus Council at the Cave Hill Campus.
Explaining why he was proud of that position, Sir Paul said: ” I am interested in the sense that I know the meaning of what the campus is to our society. I am aware how much it has helped Barbados to progress. The campus has made a difference to the island. That is my sense in how I fit in there.”
Sir Paul, who is a member of the Harrison College alumni, is also deeply committed to the development of heritage tourism, which he believes can play a major role in earning foreign exchange and building national identity.
He said every nation must be conscious of where it came from if it is to know where it is going.
Sir Paul told Barbados TODAY that he joined the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme and later became a trustee because he saw the positive impact it has on the lives of young people.
Commenting on his outstanding success in the area of property development, Sir Paul, who is the Managing Director of Altman Real Estate and has been involved in the real estate business for over 30 years, said: “In life you sometimes get lucky because you get into an area that you enjoy. I always had an interest in property, architecture and heritage.
The businessman, who is also responsible for establishing the upmarket Limegrove Lifestyle Centre in St James, which consists of about 100 retailers and restaurants, a nightclub and cinemas, said : “I got into property development when Barbados was developing. I was able to see the route forward in terms of attracting more people to the country. I caught it at the right time.”
Confirming the old adage that behind every successful man there is always a committed woman and loving children, Sir Paul was full of praise for the support of his wife of 44 years, Lady Altman, and his two daughters, Rina and Abigail.