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Political giant & VIP stalwart Omar W. Hodge has died

- After some 32 years in elective office he was known as the 'People’s Man’
Former Legislator, Minister and Deputy Chief Minister Omar Wallace Hodge aka 'The People's Man' died on Wednesday December 20, 2017. Photo: GIS/File
One of the biggest accomplishments of the late Omar W. Hodge was the acquisition of the world renowned Baths on Virgin Gorda around 1986-1987, for the people of the Territory, now one of the seven wonders of the world. Photo: TripAdvisor
One of the biggest accomplishments of the late Omar W. Hodge was the acquisition of the world renowned Baths on Virgin Gorda around 1986-1987, for the people of the Territory, now one of the seven wonders of the world. Photo: TripAdvisor
It was on March 4, 2017 that the Virgin Islands Party, under its Chairman Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), right, honoured one of its Founding Members, Mr Omar W. Hodge, left. Photo: Provided
It was on March 4, 2017 that the Virgin Islands Party, under its Chairman Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), right, honoured one of its Founding Members, Mr Omar W. Hodge, left. Photo: Provided
COX HEATH, Tortola, VI- Many residents woke up to the sad news that former Legislator, Minister and Deputy Chief Minister Omar Wallace Hodge had died.

Mr Hodge died at Forth Recovery where he was staying post Hurricane Irma on the western side of Tortola last night December 20, 2017 after a short illness.

The former legislator was 75 years of age at the time of his passing and was born February 2, 1942. The ‘People’s Man’, as he was affectionately known after some 32 years in elective office, is survived by three children and his wife Dr Miriam Rodriguez Hodge.

Mr Hodge, a member of the Opposition Virgin Islands Party (VIP), was at the side of both former Chief Minister H. Lavity Stoutt and first Premier Hon Ralph T. O’Neal OBE during the early development of the Territory. Having been first elected in November 1979 he was a champion of the rights of Caribbean people, including those from the Dominican Republic, and for children born in the Virgin Islands whose status was unclear after the United Kingdom's British Nationality Act.

Many stellar contributions

The People’s Man's biggest accomplishment was the acquisition of the world renowned Baths on Virgin Gorda around 1986-1987, for the people of the Territory, now one of the seven wonders of the world. In 2010, under his leadership as the Labour Minister, he crafted and helped passed a new modern Labour Code that protected the rights of both employees and employers.

It was Mr Hodge who made the most progress in settling the Anegada land dispute, as under his tenure he set up a one member commission (a retired Judge), which made recommendations on the matter and it was then Hon Hodge who implemented many of the findings that resulted in the granting of land titles to qualified residents of Anegada.

It was also Mr Hodge who helped forced a policy change that once the banks were taking residents' land for non-payment of loans, foreigners trying to purchase the land would need a non-belongers land holding license.

Hon Fahie speaks

Leader of the Opposition and Chairman of the Virgin Islands Party Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) told our newsroom that “Mr Hodge served the BVI with all his heart, mind and soul…the VIP as well as all the people in the BVI mourns his passing.”

Hon Fahie added that the late Hodge “served his Sixth District with distinction for many, many years. He was a caring man who would give his last to anyone in need. He loved people and most of all loved God,” the party chairman stated.

Mr Hodge was the third longest serving member of the Parliament, 1979-2011. He lost his Sixth District seat in the 2011 election to Honourable Alvera Maduro-Caines after 32 years of continuous service there.

He served as Minister for Natural Resources and Labour from 2007-2011 and under H. Lavity Stoutt, the founder of the VIP, also served for a short while as his Deputy Chief Minister from 1986-1988 and was also the Natural Resources Minister during that time.

While considered a stalwart of the VIP, Mr Hodge started out his political career as an Independent candidate and had a short stint with a group called the Independent People’s Movement which was disbanded once Mr Hodge left to join the VIP.

The country has indeed lost a political giant so close to the holiday season.

The Board of Directors, Management and Staff of Virgin Islands News Online offer our sincere condolences to the immediate family and other loved ones on the passing of Mr Omar W. Hodge.

36 Responses to “Political giant & VIP stalwart Omar W. Hodge has died”

  • HODGE (21/12/2017, 10:37) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Oh no... condolences!
  • Bold (21/12/2017, 10:45) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    Stress kill da man mehson.. smh..RIP Mr Hodge..
    • @bold (21/12/2017, 13:19) Like (6) Dislike (7) Reply
      Yup from the National Democratic Party. They kill everything that’s good. Every dog has its day.
  • Sad feeling (21/12/2017, 10:52) Like (29) Dislike (24) Reply
    Hope Ronnie Skelton is happy for the missery he caused the Hodge family by creating that mountain of garbage infront of the Hodge's property at Cockheath causing them so much misery. Get your facts straight he was not staying at fort recovery after the hurricane, he was at his home up until the time he got ill. The stress of what was done to him caused his illness. Even with all the complaints that he and his wife made to the Chief Minister and the Health Minister, they did nothing. Hope you all are happy now. Mission accomplished. Stop you all expressions of sympathy. Hypocrites.
    • Howdy doody (22/12/2017, 08:12) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      He has gone to the great cookie jar in the sky!
    • Kind man (23/12/2017, 01:29) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      I did stay at his place weeks after the storm and yes he and his wife was staying there and had guests he took us in free
  • crazy (21/12/2017, 11:09) Like (15) Dislike (12) Reply
    Alvera over omar ? No wonder the place mess up
    • wize up (21/12/2017, 19:35) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply

      @ crazy/ this is the problem we have in the territory these day....every f**&ing things must go political: united we stand devised we must fall

  • Ayana S Hull (21/12/2017, 11:14) Like (35) Dislike (8) Reply
    I was very saddened by this call in the early hours of this morning. Omar was a good man with a good heart and he was truly helpful to me at a time when he, didn't even have to and, was even perhaps discouraged from doing so. But it was his stance during that time that made me understand his pedigree, his conscience, his heart, his determination and his genuine love for people. The People's Man was no small nomenclature, and a designation would never be more accurate. He was a special politician to me, not without his faults, but no human is perfect. I grew up in Purcell knowing Omar and seeing him come to my grandparents house year after year after year after year. He was a champion to my grandparents and they loved him. He did his best to assist the 6th district and we are grateful for his life contribution to us and for never encouraging anyone to believe that nothing good could come from Purcell. He believed in the 6th district and its people and he looked out for us in the face of criticism. Though him and I did not share political sides in my adult years, he always knew that I supported him individually. Many say good and many may say bad and many may say in between, but I am touched that I had the opportunity to meet the heart of a giant, whose memory would remain a part of this journey of mine through life and I was happy to have known him personally. To his wife, Miriam, his children, and his family members, my deepest condolences. Jeremy, keep the faith. Tamara, my love, dry those tears...Both of you stay strong for the girls. Omar is at rest and our faith must keep us believing that the Almighty God still knows best. He giveth and He taketh away, but blessed be His name. May the People's Man rest in eternal peace.
  • pancho (21/12/2017, 11:17) Like (17) Dislike (3) Reply
    Have mad respect for this man, real man of the people! RIP Omar. Will be missed.
  • Meak (21/12/2017, 11:18) Like (5) Dislike (3) Reply
    Good bye Hodgey untill we meet again.
  • voter (21/12/2017, 11:45) Like (28) Dislike (12) Reply
    Myron tried to be the new Omar but he has failed miserably at it.

  • foxy (21/12/2017, 12:05) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    very sad news indeed and vino yours is very comprehensive
  • BVI.FRIENDS (21/12/2017, 12:07) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply

    It is still vivid in my mind, as an instantaneous impression, the spirit of simplicity and welcoming friendship projected on his face at first View; the face of man of the village and its people, seemingly able to call each person’s name, as if recording all in a dynamic and biological archive of his own. His hand extended before the words, a warm full spirit of empathizing will, and powerful senses of confidence and sincerity. Over thirty years ago, I was impressed this way by this phenomenal person, who entered our lives as smooth as the natural stream of water runs into its basin, off and on the season, as per the weathering human moods; always present in joy or pain. He patiently studied and mastered his people’s cultural moods to achieving supportive familiarity, and yet opened wide avenue to accommodate the comprehension of regional friendships. Omar Wallace Hodge’s civic endurance and his natural public service disposition, forged in the deepest understanding of the people, is an outstanding virtue that enhanced so much his already accomplishing brilliant existence. A natural true leader; capable of set in motion unthinkably difficult tasks for the best of the people, a dependable citizen of the nation. His passing affects us all, for we have now a turned off lighthouse. But, his will and opus legacy’s must have inspired so many for the future of his homeland.
  • ..... (21/12/2017, 12:50) Like (16) Dislike (16) Reply
    It is interesting how fickle we are. A few years ago, he made a statement to the effect that there is nothing wrong with putting your hand in the cookie jar, which was an innuendo alluding to there being nothing wrong with corruption. He was thereafter known as the cookie monster. Now, because he has died, he is known as the "People's Man." Absolutely ridiculous.
    • The fact (21/12/2017, 13:57) Like (5) Dislike (3) Reply
      New Comer he have been known as the people's man a long time. Where u come out?
    • He was not perfect (21/12/2017, 14:16) Like (11) Dislike (3) Reply
      But he cared about the people. There is a difference between acknowledging the imperfection in people and recognizing the good in them. We are all flawed in some way.
  • Gumption. Official (21/12/2017, 13:05) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    R.I.P legend. Thank you for the wisdom and support your have given to us the Virgin Islands.
  • Andrew Cox Sr (21/12/2017, 13:09) Like (16) Dislike (3) Reply
    A giant of a man that love his people: as a youth man living in in his building in Purcell Estate, Hon Hodge made sure he gave me great advise: I recalled turning 18 years; only to be told by Omar Wallace Hodge that the time have come for me exercise my right to the Hodge Family which include my school mates be of good courage because Hon Hodge have faught a great fight for his people: I will miss him but to God be the glory !!!!! Long live Rt. Hon. Omar Wallace Hodge
  • ForReal (21/12/2017, 13:54) Like (17) Dislike (2) Reply
    Omar Hodge, Ralph O’Neal, Ethlyn Smith, Reeial George, Lavity Stoutt, Andrew Fahie, Alvin Christopher, Eileen Parson some one of a kind politicians. These we have now are just pure garbage looking out for themselves.
  • Mark (21/12/2017, 15:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Oh My! Many Wizards in the BVI will now starve, or atleast go out of business. RIP.
  • Tafari Zharr (21/12/2017, 15:29) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    A forward Thinker who's passing should be celebrated in a community vigil that is reflected of the love by the people.

    If "concern" for the under/unrepresented was the prelude for Mr. Hodge's getting into politics, its no wonder he became a "Master" - Social Teacher for even those outside his class (base/district). He was eager to push the BVI ahead of time and dreamt of a society where we loved each other as much as the people loved him.

    Why not? He said if you are willing to do the work then "loving where you live" should be easier; an acknowledged we shared, that he fought for people who could not fight for themselves. I think of Mr. Hodge as a man who was fearless, precocious, progressive, and powerful. (Powerful because it was bestowed upon him by others and not taken for granted by him. This kind of power can be the envy of other politicians. But a man as powerful as he was - never had to wonder about being powerless a day in his life.

    Mr. Hodge easily will be recognized as a national hero - someone who rose and shone to became a gem in the history of the Virgin Islands. An exceptional unselfish gentle giant! He was a gift: an approachable, engaging, expressive, attentive, and available man of honor who looked you in the eye, spoke to you, not at you; shook your hand and drew you in; all this whilst never afraid to let you close enough so you could peep into his soul to see his heart of gold. What a magnificent man, so sure and confident, and so "awoke" that your desires mirrored his desire to see each person, each family, better themselves no matter whose people you were.

    Pasea's Riteway is where I would run into him on my visits home. Our conversations was always about FAMILY - he kept an eye on mine which began way back before time!

    In the meantime, and during this very sad time, to the family, Mr. Hodge, and to the community at large (we are also your extended family) will be greatly missed but never forgotten. As we try to celebrate the joy of the holiday let his remember and honor in song or silence because we are blessed that ever crossed our paths, entered our hearts and minds, and that we too will answer the call to also "no matter how small" make a positive difference in someone's life.

    May we now gather for your family and fight for your legacy. By the way, any legacy for Mr. Hodge is a legacy for the people. Like Mr. Noel Lloyd, I would hope such would be monumentalized; Maybe others had to work more, or harder, but if the greatness of any man or place is determined by the way people treat you and how you feel when you visit- then you have earned your place in being one of BVI greatest! It's so sad you had to go home so soon. RIP
  • Lord 0 (21/12/2017, 15:37) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hurricane strsss and pressure too much. Gone leave everything so soon. My Sympathy to family and friends. He was a fearless warrior
  • Gage (21/12/2017, 17:56) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    RIP Mr.Hodge.
  • ... (21/12/2017, 18:44) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Oh No say this is not so. Saw the man even after his stroke
  • pat (21/12/2017, 19:08) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Rest in peace
  • Oh yeah (21/12/2017, 20:14) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Only Ralph O'Neal and Oliver Cills left from the old VIP Party.
  • Stargazer (22/12/2017, 06:28) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    A giant when B.V. I. Politics was real . The fights were in the House but friendship and respect was shown when Opposition and Government met. We were 'One B.V. I". Rest in peace Mr. Hodge
  • gkefkkdakxq (22/12/2017, 13:23) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Ndp with thier garbage dump killed him
  • truth betold (22/12/2017, 13:27) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Stress killed the after his building at the roundabout was bought by Mark and his brother

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