We’d like to highlight one particular member of the team that's just clocked in an incredible fifty years of service.
Noel Victory, also known as “Goatie”, started working with Petit St. Vincent in November of 1966, and has been invaluable to our PSV family over the years. Due to his time with PSV, the island’s current owner, Phil Stephenson, honored Goatie’s commitment and length of service by naming the newly built Beach Bar after him.
We caught up with Goatie to hear just a smattering of his many adventures during his time with Petit St. Vincent.
Q: How did you come to PSV in the first place?
A: In 1966, I was introduced to PSV as a sixteen-year-old builder’s apprentice. My employer Clifford John was contracted to help build the resort on the newly acquired island for its new American owner, Mr. H.W. Nichols. Mr. John brought his whole team down to PSV with him, which luckily included me.
Haze Richardson, also an American (who was responsible for finding the island for purchase) was at that time employed as the construction foreman. Haze saw potential in me and asked me to stay on as his trusty sidekick to help finalize the construction when the majority of the other workers were sent home.
When the resort finally opened, Mr. Nichols asked Haze to stay on as the resort manager from which he then became sole owner for several decades. Over the years Haze and I formed a very close bond and helped each other through many of life’s challenges.
Q: How has your time working at PSV influenced your family?
A: Two of my sons now live abroad. Dominique is an electrical engineer in England and Darel is at college in Canada. My career at PSV helped not only to finance, but to encourage me to push my sons through a decent education which has allowed them the opportunity to travel and also to gain employment in the above countries. Working at PSV has also allowed me to build a home for my family and a little business for my wife and third son on Union Island.
Q: Have you had the chance to travel yourself during your time with PSV?
A: I have been fortunate enough to take my wife on some wonderful holidays to England, America, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Aruba, Curacao, Puerto Rico, St. Croix and St. Thomas.
Q: Any funny travel stories?
A: A funny experience happened with Haze in Trinidad when we took one of the boats down for a refit. On departure from St. Vincent, the Immigration officer stamped my passport as usual, but neither the officer, myself or the skipper of our boat noticed that the passport had actually expired.
However, upon arrival in Trinidad, the Immigration officer did notice and became rather angry about it. As a consequence, he banned me from leaving the vessel which was scheduled to be in the yard for at least two months! Haze came to the rescue by calling his friend Jonathan Palmer, the owner of the local flight company Mustique Airways.
As Jonathan landed his plane at the Trinidad airport, Haze managed to sneak me out of the boatyard and to get me to the airport safely as he cleverly talked his way out of having me arrested. I was rushed onto the waiting plane before the fuming immigration official could find a way to lock me up and throw away the key!
Q: What roles have you had over the 50 years?
A: I have worked in every department of PSV over the years, starting with its construction and then staying on as part of the maintenance team.
I’ve have my hands in just about everything. I have helped out in the kitchens as a dishwasher and baker, in the restaurant as a waiter and bartender, as well as room service butler.
Q: Any memorable stories?
A: American yeast.
At the time I was working as a baker in the kitchen. This particular afternoon there wasn’t any stock of bread to be had on PSV. Haze asked me to stay on to bake some bread. He had just brought in a new yeast from the States and wanted to try it out. But I wanted to go home to my family on Union Island that night. In order to not miss the last boat, I told Haze outright that the yeast was no good, therefore I couldn’t make bread with it.
Not satisfied, Haze asked a friend on the island who had some experience in the kitchen to kindly help me. The friend started preparing the yeast with warm water to activate it. As it began to bubble, I realized that I was stuck there. But I really wanted to go home that night so I threw some ice water in the bowl to collapse the yeast, thinking that if the yeast fails, the bread would fail and I could go home to my wife (although to the disappointment of Haze).
The next day Haze asked me to get to work and bake some new bread. Silly me, without thinking I picked up the same American yeast and made a batch of lovely bread. When Haze came in, he realized straight away that not only had I managed to make wonderful bread from the “faulty yeast” I had also somehow tricked him the night before. So he cursed a few choice words in my direction! Shortly after, he found the funny side of it and all was forgiven.
Goatie, although "semi-retired” is still helping out, albeit at a more relaxed pace. He is now PSV’s Union Island Airport representative based on Union Island. This allows him to spend much more time with his wife and son, Dillon, as well as still being part of the PSV family.
Goatie looks forward to welcoming you on your arrival and will be more than happy to share some of his many wonderful stories as he transfers you from the airport to the awaiting motor yacht, for the final 15-minute leg of the journey to our little island resort.