By Virgil Sams
St. Eustatius owes a great share of gratitude to a gentleman who was one of its chief engineers for bringing electricity to the island.
Mr. Lloyd Antonio Nicholson aka Lloydie, may no longer be in active service due to advancing years, yet he maintains a sense of satisfaction for his many years of Public Service. While in this remaining period of his life it is noteworthy to underscore the indelible contribution he made in fulfilling an essential need on Statia, to which all Statians now enjoy and are benefiting. The famous metaphor of Warren Buffett fittingly bespeaks the substantial service contribution of Mr. Nicholson, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
The primitive days of the early 1960s when at evening times, lanterns and oil lamps were the common lights that were used in houses. Workers were seen in the early hours of the evening hanging gas lanterns on poles in the resident areas. Such was the simple way of life in those days.
At the age of 6 Mr. Nicholson left St. Eustatius when his parents migrated to Curacao. While in Curacao from puberty to adolescence years, he developed his worldviews and contemplated his professional aspiration in the field of electrical studies. His first exposure to the electrical field was his employment at KLM. Subsequently he broadened his working experience with Overseas Gas and Electricity Company NV (OGEM). The experience acquired from these established companies on Curacao prepared him for greater future exploits.
In March 1965 at the youthful age of 26 he was offered a grand opportunity to return to Statia, to which he readily accepted. He returned to Statia on the cargo vessel, Antilia, that brought loads of poles, cables, wires and electrical equipment for the setting up of electricity on the island. He became chiefly responsible with his organized crew for setting up electricity on Statia.
On July 6, 1965, the year of his career debut on Statia he married Miss Althea Duinkerk, the daughter of the late Gifford Duinkerk who was a formidable politician of Statia. His wife taught for many years. This year Mr. Nicholson and his wife aka Teacher Althea celebrated their 55th year of marriage. That union produced 3 boys, of which, one is deceased. He also fathered other children, among which his first child and only daughter Curiley Brown on Curaçao. Curily was born in 1963, before Lloydie returned to St. Eustatius in the year 1965.
One individual shared their account of Mr. Nicholson said, “had it not been for the passionate drive of Lloydie Statia would probably not have had electricity at the time it did in 1965, and that electricity would have probably come at a later period such as the late 1960s or the early 1970s.”
During the period of electricity installation on Statia, Mr. Nicholson was denied the deserved managerial position due to a wrangle with the then administrator, Mr. Rosema. He felt this was not done with graceful humaneness for one’s professional knowledge and contribution. Yet he continued his work with proficiency and maintained the position as Distribution Supervisor. Mr. Leonard Sprott became the then manager of GEBE on Statia.
Mr. Nicholson has earned a commanding respect and is recognized as the face of GEBE/STUCO on Statia. There are many who can vouch for the professional skills and dependability of Mr. Nicholson that he has produced beyond expectations.
Mr. Nicholson has demonstrated a passion for the maintenance of quality and credibility of electricity services on the island. His personality profile is truly admirable and is worthy of emulation by those in responsible positions. The words of the late American leader of organized labor, Walter Reuther, “There is no greater calling than to serve your fellow men. . .. There is no greater satisfaction than to have done it well.” He ensured that those whom her served were satisfied. This was part his modus operandi.
The stark reality is that here is an example of Statia’s finest and best talent. Given there are many others who deserve to be affirmed not only by the institutions and establishments but also by government and those whom they serve. Quite fitting are the words of Michelle Obama “Value everyone’s contribution and treat everyone with respect.”
Mr. Nicholson believes in potential abilities of the youth. He was an inspiration to many youths. A large portion of young men who went off to study followed the path of his profession in becoming electricians. He is pleased that while in his retirement age to see the fruits of his contribution.
In April of 1997 he retired after 32 years of devoted service at GEBE. It’s hard to conceived that of all the years of award distributions that this great contributor who devoted 32 years and more of dedicated service in the instigation of electricity was not considered. That somehow committees when searching for candidates to be awarded has overlooked one who has sought with heart and soul to ensure that Statia was on the advanced stage of development in having electricity back in the mid 1960s. Nonetheless, one can take courage by these word that “Your rewards in life are always in direct proportion to your contribution – your service.” – Earl Nightingale
In his reflection on his professional achievements and accomplishments, Mr. Nicholson is grateful for his God-given ability to have served his homeland. He gave unselfishly of his time, energy to the overall development of GEBE. He served with pride and dignity. To this day he maintains good rapport with his family, friends and colleagues along with a good sense of humor. He has put GEBE which has since then changed to STUCO on a positive path. His hard-working team spirit was a game change.
STUCO’s office located on Korthalsweg was inaugurated on Friday November 14, 2008. During the ceremony two plaques were unveiled in recognition of Mr. Lloyd Nicholson and Mr. Leonard Sprott. Mr. Fred Cuvalay, was supervisor electrical department of the power-plant of GEBE in St. Maarten and was transferred to Statia in 2014. He now serves as CEO of STUCO and expressed gratitude to Mr. Nicholson for his outstanding service, reciprocating and sharing useful information during his time of transition.
Let us honor our living legend, Mr. Nicholson with the recognition he deserves for the significant role he played in many lives and his indelible contribution to Statia.